Horticultural Moment

This will show the Horticultural Moments for 2017. For previous ones, please navigate to 2016.

February

Elena reminded us that NOW is the time to start thinking about what to plant and to order our seeds. 

Make sure to look on the seed package to see when is the proper time to start your seeds. It also makes 

difference when you start depending on whether you are starting your plants on a windowsill 

or in greenhouse. She said she doesn’t start her tomato plants in her greenhouse 

until mid- March.


Try and grow plants that attract pollinators.The Mason Bee is a native bee that has

been here for centuries. They are so named for their habit of building using mud

dobs like masons. They are small bees, only a bit larger than a fly, are non-agressive

and do not sting. They come out in the spring before other bees, even when

still chilly. Honey bees on the other hand are not native bees but imported. 

They are sent all around the country to large orchards where their only job

is to pollinate. When that job is done they are exposed to the pesticides used

in the orchards and die.


During our discussion of a possible youth program, Elena brought up the

idea of planting milkweed or swamp milkweed at the library and teaching

young people the importance of maintaining a habitat for Monarch butterflies.

She pointed out the swamp milkweed has a beautiful pink flower and is 

very pretty despite its unflattering name. The seeds need a cold period and 

need to be started in the Fall.


She also mentioned the importance of planting seeds for flowers that are not

hybrids. One example was that hybrid zinnias with multiple petals are pretty

but do not allow the bees access.



March


Elena reminded us that now is the time to think about planting some early crops, peas in particular. The

beginning of April is a good time as the weather is still cool and they need that. Her favorites are the

sugar snap peas and this year they are coming out with varieties in yellow and purple. One trick before planting 

is to soak the seeds overnight in water to puff them up. This helps them to germinate quicker. She also shared 

some ideas that were used by older generations. She learned some of these thing from her Grandfather. 

Epsom salt – which is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of 

magnesium and sulfate – is a good thing to use when planting tomatoe and pepper plants. This receipe was 

online • Soil additive at planting time. Add one or two tablespoons of Epsom salt at the bottom of each hole 

before planting seeds or transplants. • Foliar spray during season. Add two tablespoons of Epsom salt to a 

gallon of water and use tank sprayer to apply the mix once a month substituting the spray for a regular 

watering. Use one tablespoon per gallon of water if you apply Epsom salt spray more often than once a 

month. Begin foliar spraying when blooms first appear. 

Crushed up egg shells – Tomato plants can get black spot which is blossom end rot at the end of the 

plant when there is a lack of calcium in the soil. This trick can be used in container plants or ones put 

into the ground. The crushed shells can be put in the hole when you start the plant or added around 

the plant at the top of the soil. 

Matches – If you have pepper plants, put unlit wooden match sticks (2-4), heads down, around the 

each plant. This provides sulfur for the plant which it needs.


April


Elena reminded us that now is the time to think about planting some early crops, peas in particular. The

beginning of April is a good time as the weather is still cool and they need that. Her favorites are the

sugar snap peas and this year they are coming out with varieties in yellow and purple. One trick before 

planting is to soak the seeds overnight in water to puff them up. This helps them to germinate quicker.


She also shared some ideas that were used by older generations. She learned some of these thing from her Grandfather.

Epsom salt – which is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of 

magnesium and sulfate – is a good thing to use when planting tomatoe and pepper plants. This receipe was online  

• Soil additive at planting time. Add one or two tablespoons of Epsom salt at the bottom of each hole before planting 

seeds or transplants. • Foliar spray during season. Add two tablespoons of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and use tank 

sprayer to apply the mix once a month substituting the spray for a regular watering. Use one tablespoon per gallon 

of water if you apply Epsom salt spray more often than once a month. Begin foliar spraying when blooms first appear.


Crushed up egg shells – Tomato plants can get black spot which is blossom end rot at the end of the plant 

when there is a lack of calcium in the soil. This trick can be used in container plants or ones put into the ground. 

The crushed shells can be put in the hole when you start the plant or added around the plant at the top of the soil.


Matches – If you have pepper plants, put unlit wooden match sticks (2-4), heads down,  around the each plant. 

This provides sulfur for the plant which it needs.


May


Elena presented information regarding what to do with your bulbs once they have finished blooming. 

Let the foliage ripen and later you can either gather them up or loosely tie them in a knot or you can 

cover them with a pot to hide the decaying leaves. You can also plant perennials that bloom later 

to hide your daffodils. Bulbs that are in pots – let the leaves die back but put the bulbs in a dry 

cool place and plant them in the ground in the fall or plant them in a pot in late December or 

early January. Fertilize all bulbs in early spring before they bloom and again in the fall.


June


At the May meeting Elena cautioned us that with all the wet and cold weather we have been having 

not to be in a big hurry to plant our vegetable gardens. She talked about her own experience of 

planting her peas and beans, both early crops, that have either not come up and may have rotted 

or come up and not done well. The soil needs to be at a temperature of between 55-68˚. Besides 

peas and beans, kale, swiss chard, lettuce and spinach are cool weather crops and they would be 

the first ones to plant when it isn’t raining daily. Wait on tomatoes, peppers and cukes. 


July


Elena spoke briefly about using ferns and hosts if you have a lot of shade in your garden. 


August


Now is the time to dig up and divide your perennials or to plant new ones to give

the plants enough time to establish a new root system. If your hostas have already 

bloomed you can divide them. If not, wait until they do.


September


Now is the time to cut back spent flowers such as phlox, stella D’oros lillies, etc. Leave hydrangeas until November and then cut back the dead blossoms. Paniculatas can be cut back in either fall or spring.There is no need to winter protect Endless Summer hydrangeas or Paniculatas.





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