“It was such a pleasure to sink one's hands into the warm earth, to feel at one's fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”
Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
Only 17 more days until Pioneer weekend! While it’s a fun weekend for all of Texas County, it’s especially exciting for gardeners in our area. After the first weekend in May, it’s safe to plant all of those warm season flowers and vegetables! If you read a guide on what-to-plant-when, you’ll notice that some things are meant to be planted around the average last frost day or 2 weeks after the average last frost date. In Zone 6, the average last frost date is April 15th. Two weeks after our average last frost date lands just before the Pioneer festivities. If you’re expecting company, go ahead and beautify those planters with all of your favorites: geraniums, sweet potato vine, petunias, etc. If your a vegetable gardener, it may be wise to check the soil temperature before planting the heat-loving veggies. In particular, tomatoes have sensitivity issues to the cold soil. Have you ever had a problem with Blossom End Rot? This is quite often caused by planting tomatoes too early, In soil below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When the roots of the tomato plant are too cold, the tomatoes cannot absorb enough calcium from the soil The lack of Calcium early in the growing season causes Blossom End Rot. You can buy products to treat the symptoms of Blossom End Rot, but its always best to prevent a problem before attempting to treat the problem.
Speaking of nutrients, have you had your soil tested recently? All plants prefer a loamy soil with a ph between 5.5 and 7.0. Plants also need a whopping sixteen nutrients to survive. Unhealthy soil may be the reason every tree you plant dies within a few years in that same darn spot. To test your soil, visit the OSU Extension Office on Main Street. They will loan you all the supplies you need to take a viable soil sample. Once you have collected 15-20 samples per area and mixed those samples into the uncontaminated bag provided, the Extension Office will mail the sample to the soil lab at OSU. The results are available within two weeks and can be viewed online. Once you’ve received your results, bring it to us at Helms Garden Shop and we will help you find the perfect fertilizer or soil amendment to create a healthy soil for your plants.
The cold this past week really had us a little perturbed at the Garden Shop. We had to pack all of our beautiful flowering trees, shrubs, and annuals away in the sheds and greenhouse to protect them from the frost. Protecting our plants is #1 priority, but a bare garden does make us a little sad...
This week will be quite different. Expect an explosion of flowers, vegetables, trees.. everything! We are expecting three deliveries from growers AND we are bringing at least three full trailer loads of Helms Farm-Grown flowers and veggie plants this week. We are going to be busy, but in the best way possible.
Our tip this week comes from a young gardener in training. Pyper Helms, daughter of Ben and Olivia Helms, says "if you have cats that get into your garden and cause problems, try spreading your onion scraps from the kitchen in and around your garden beds." Not only will the powerful odor of the onion scraps keep the cats away, that organic matter will decay into your soil over time, helping you to build a rich, loamy soil.
That's all for this week! We're currently working hard to provide full inventory lists of bedding plants, perennials, and shrubs on our website. The tree inventory list is up to date. As always, feel free to call or message us for advice or information.