The Gardener’s Dirt May 2008
Information you can dig into
|North Carolina State University
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Johnston County Center
2736 NC 210 Highway * Smithfield, NC 27577
In this Issue
|This newsletter offers timely information for your outdoor living spaces.
Addressing the most common questions ranging from container gardening,
tree pruning, wildlife management, to fire ant control, insect
identification and lawn establishment.
You can have a garden anywhere, and during all seasons by container gardening. What a great way to conserve water, space, and time. It is also an opportunity to experiment with different plant varieties. It is also a great way to overcome problems in the garden soil.
Containers come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials. Some materials include terra cotta, plastic, wood, and ceramic. Some containers to be cautious of are those with narrow openings, they are hard to empty; cheap plastics, they will break down in UV light; wooden containers are susceptible to root, except cedar or redwood (avoid wood treated with creosote, penta or toxic salts). Whichever container you choose make sure it has adequate drainage in the bottom. Additional holes can be made in many types of containers using a drill with a ½ inch drill bit. Also, set the container up on pot feet, stones, or bricks to aid with drainage.
The size of the container should be determined by the plants to be planted in the container. Larger plants will need larger containers. For many small plants consider wide, shallow bowls.
A light-weight soil mix is generally needed. Garden soil is generally too heavy for containers and could contain nematodes or other disease organisms. You can either buy a prepackaged mix or mix your own using one part peat moss, one part compost, and one part clean coarse (builders) sand, and some slow release fertilizer (amount should be based on the amount of mix being made about 1 teaspoon per gallon of mix).
When creating containers with mixed plants, check light requirements for the plants you have chosen. Put plants together that have the same light requirements. Also consider water requirements. Some plants need to be watered more frequently than others. A common question is, “How often should I water the container?” The answer is, “As often as it needs it.” The longer the plants are in the container the more frequently they will need to be watered. When checking the soil for moisture, check the plants for insects. The same insects that attack the plants in the soil will often attack the plants in the containers as well.
Move plants around from time to time for a different and dramatic effect. When bad weather is expected, delicate plants can be moved under a shelter or indoors for protection. Some tropical can be moved into the house or garage to over-winter.
This summer enjoy some fresh color and a variety to your porch, patio, or yard by using containers to mix things up.
|Planted in full or partial sun, and mesic to dry conditions this perennial grows 3 to 5 foot tall and is planted 2 to 24 inch apart in well drained soil. The foliage has an anise or licorice scent. The upper stems terminate in spikes of flowers about 3-6" long. The small flowers are arranged in dense whorls that are crowded along the spike; the flowers are replaced by smooth, oval-shaped nutlets. There are many recipes that involve the flowers and leaves of this herb. Flowering starts, even in unfavorable summers, in late July and continues until late autumn. The plants will self-seed in the garden and usually overwinter well. Anise hyssop will attract bees, butterflies and/or birds to the garden.||
Anise hyssop in flower
| Return to the top
Ham and Yam Festival; May 3 & 4 behind the courthouse in Smithfield. Enjoy the festivities for the entire family and stop by to speak with the Extension Master Gardeners
Organic Insect Control; May 29 at the Agriculture Building 2736 NC 210 Highway, Smithfield, NC. Dr. David Orr will be our presenter that night with some good ideas on how to control insects in the garden. Please call to sign up. (919) 989-5380
Agriculture Tour; June 6 we will be touring several agriculture businesses in Johnston County and the surrounding area. For more details call the extension office (919) 989-5380 or visit http://johnston.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=events&event_id=10583 on the internet.
Summer Extravaganza; June 14 at the Agriculture Building 2736 NC 210 Highway, Smithfield, NC. The Extension Master Gardeners will have some educational booths on different topics including dealing with the drought. For more information call (919) 989-5380 and ask to speak with a Master Gardener.
Close up view of a bagworm.
|As the weather warms up toward the end of May and first of June be on the look out for bagworms. Right now there are between 500 and 1000 eggs inside the bags hanging on the plants. Leyland Cypress is one of the plants that can be damaged severely by this insect, however, bagworms can be found on several types of junipers, arborvitae, and several broadleaf evergreens. More information can be found by calling the Extension Master Gardeners at (919) 989-5380 or by viewing this website https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/trees/ort081e/ort081e.htm .||
A newly hatched bagworm.
| Return to the top
TREES, SHRUBS & ORNAMENTALS
VEGETABLES & FRUITS
HELPING PEOPLE PUT KNOWLEDGE TO WORK.
Got Questions? We've got answers!
If you have a gardening issue you would like to see addressed in this
newsletter please let me know I will do what I can to get you the
information you need. Contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (919) 989-5380.
The Johnston County Master Gardener Volunteers are available Monday,
|Past Newsletters||Johnston County Lawn and Garden|