Pike Nurseries is always a helpful source of lawn and garden information. With the rainy summer we’ve had, what we thought we knew about gardening in the South has changed. We found this blog entry from Pike’s pretty helpful:
For so many years here in the southeast we have had a rain deficit. As gardeners, we’ve learned a lot about drought tolerant plants and methods for successful gardening using less water and using reclaimed water.
This year has painted a very different story for us. We’ve had an abundance of rain. Looking around this summer we see lots of green and lush foliage. We’ve observed vegetable leaves that appear larger than normal. Container gardens have thrived without needing to be watered daily.
The rain has been helpful in so many ways. But with this much rain there are some things that you need to be watchful for.
Rain leaches nutrients from the soil. If you notice bright yellow leaves appearing suddenly, or little to no growth on plants in the active growing phase, your plants might be deficient in Nitrogen. Flowering plants with no flowers could need more Phosphorous. If you notice slow growth and weak stems your plant might be lacking Potassium.
In each of these cases your plants will benefit from fertilizer. On a box of fertilizer you’ll notice 3 numbers. The first number represents Nitrogen, the second Phosphorous and the third Potassium. The number represents the percentage of each nutrient in the package. Choose a fertilizer that will best address the symptoms your plant is showing. For example, if you’re plant is not flowering well apply a fertilizer with the highest number in the ratio being the second number. Superbloom 12-55-6 is an example of this type of fertilizer.
Drainage can also be a problem with so much water. If you have a container garden with plants that have yellowing leaves, check the bottom and be sure that the drainage hole is not blocked. Raise the container with pot feet to allow for better drainage. In the garden if you have drainage problems, you might want to relocate plants, choose plants that are more tolerant of wet feet (wet roots), or dig the plants and plant them higher. Planting them higher on a berm will allow for better drainage.
Rain and the hot weather is the perfect climate for troublesome fungus and disease issues. If you see black spots on leaves, or gray or white mold you’ll need to apply a fungicide. Bonide’s Infuse will cure and prevent fungus on flowers, roses, trees, shrubs and your lawn.
Watch your tomatoes, the excess rain can cause them to split. To avoid this, harvest your tomatoes a day or two earlier than you normally would and let them ripen on your kitchen counter.
Finally, mulch your garden to keep weeds down (which also love the rain) and to help prevent erosion. Remember pine straw stays in place best on sloped areas.
Our gardens (and water bills) have benefited from all the rain this year and overall maintaining our plantings has been much easier. Keep in mind the few things that might be different this year because of the rain and you can keep your garden healthy and happy.
And, if you’re not sure what is wrong with your plant, cut a couple of samples and bring them in to us. We are here to help you diagnose your problems and give you a solution.