Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to plant trees and shrubs

These tree planting steps are designed for the lower elevations of the desert southwest. But can be applied to almost any zone area.

1. Water - This is the most important factor. You will need to water all trees and shrubs on a daily basis for at least the first 2-3 weeks after planting them. 3-5 gallons or water per 5 ga. tree. This is very critical during the summer months.

2. To ensure successful planting do NOT fertilize right after planting your tree or shrub. Use a good root stimulator to stimulate root growth. Do not fertilize during the winter months. Use a good all purpose tree or shrub fertilizer right after the last frost ( usually after march in the southwest ) Water about twice per month during December, January and March. Typically you should fertilize once in the spring, summer and fall.

3. Most southwestern soils lack acid, use a good compost with some acidity to help root development during planting.  You can purchase a pH  (potential of Hydrogen)  tester to measure levels of acidity or akaline in your soil. 
4. If you are using a drip system be sure that the emitter is directly over the root ball of the tree or plant. A couple of inches off may result in insuffcient water to your plant. Many plants have gone to "plant heaven" because of this one mistake.

5. Fertilize your tree or shrub with a good all purpose fertilizer anything close to a 16-8-8 analysis will work great. Leaves turning yellow are sometimes a lack of iron in the soil. Add a fertilizer with iron, liquid iron or ironite.  This should be done only when your plants or trees have leafed out. 
6. Remember most trees and shrubs need about 6 monts to about 1 year before they are established. Once established Almost all plants will require less water.

7. Native plants need as much watering as other plants during the first year. Once established they will usually thrive with much less water. Once a month during winter and about 1 per week during the dry hot summer months.

8. Be sure the root ball on all container plants are intact when planting them. Do NOT expose the roots. The plant will go in extreme shock and may die.

9. Remove and clear any and all weeds and rocks that may be in the area. Weeds will suck out water and nutrients from the soil. Large rocks or debris will hinder root development.

10. Continually check and observe your tree, shrub or plant making sure there are no signs of diseases or insect problems. Insects love new leaf growth. Diseases are usually fungal. Signs are usually wilting, slow growth, leaves turning yellow during the summer months. Not sure what the problem might be? Trim off a branch, limb or leaf and bring it in to your local nursery or greenhouse. They usually have the most knowledgable gardening employees around.

There you have it how to plant trees and shrubs.  Pretty simple and basic.  For more gardening tips visit: Coloryourworldllc.com

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How to grow vegetables

I am often asked which vegetables are the easiest to plant during the spring season. Being from the Southwestern part of the U.S. my first response is…Chili’s or Peppers.

One of the most popular is the Jalapeno. This pepper can grow to about 3" long and about 1.5" wide. They are ready when the dark green flesh starts to turn a reddish color. They are of course highly pungent.

It is really hard to tell which one will be hotter the next one. The jalapeno can be canned, pickeled. The tam Jalapeno is what most wholesalers use for their Salsa's. The Long Green Chili also very popular throughout the southwest.

The Anaheim Chili, is a classic favorite with Unbeatable Mild Heat! 8-inch peppers are well protected by foliage throughout their growth.

The Chili or pepper vegetables are easy to grow, tolerate extreme heat and insects rarely bother them. Buying them full grown at the grocery store can be a bit expensive. They are highly nutritious with lots of vitamin C. They like to be planted in full sun and watering should be done almost daily during the hot summer months. You can purchase chili or pepper seeds at your local nursery store. The cost is around 2-4 bucks per package. Be sure to purchase this years seeds and not last years. Many big box store nurseries will forget to dispose of older seed packages.

Tomatoes are the next easy vegetable plants to grow. The beefsteak, early girl and cherry tomatoes are fast growing and provide lots of vitamin C. Plant them about 3 ft. apart and be sure to use tomato cages to support their weight. Use bird netting to keep birds away during the growing season. There a tons of other varieties that you can use. Make sure you use good composted soil and purchase seeds that are resistant to diseases. Tomato rot and Verticillium Wilt are two of the more common ones. If your tomato plants look bad be sure to contact your county extension agent or you local nursery and ask for a manager. These folks make a living helping out vegetable gardeners.

Carrots are another easy to grow type of vegetable to grow in your garden. Plant them about 6 inches in rows apart and 2 inches apart from each seed. You can harvest carrots throughout the summer and fall months. Carrots do not like colder type weather be sure to plant when you are sure the last frost has passed. They also like good composted soil that drains well.

Here is a list of other vegetable plants that can be easily planted.
  1. Lettuce – Can be grown in cooler fall type weather. The Jericho variety can tolerate poor soil and hot weather.
  2. Onions – Put seeds about 4-5 inches into the ground. Be sure the last frost has passed.
  3. Broccoli – Will continue to produce even after the first head has been harvested.
  4. Cucumbers – Just let them grow on the ground…kind of like pumpkins.
  5. Basil – Does not like cooler temperatures. Excellent herb plant that grows until the first frost
  6. Beets – Baby beets are the best to plant. Sow about 1-2 inches apart and then thin out as time goes on.

These vegetable plants need good composted soil that drains well. Be sure to use a good vegetable fertilizer and fertilize about once per month. A 10-10-10 is a good mixture of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash.

It is best to use organic type fertilizers and insecticides. However organic materials do not always work as well as man made matter. One of the best deterrents to a healthy garden is constant observance and taking early steps to control insect infestation or disease problems.

Paul Guzman - Color Your World Nursery Las Cruces, NM.
More easy to grow vegetables information here.