Everyone is a gardener when it comes to annuals!
Annual plants only stick around with us for one year but with a little TLC, they can have one heck of a year! Annuals are rewarding, fun, and allow you to be as creative as you like. Anyone can plant annuals even with minimal gardening experience.
Half the fun is just picking out your flowers. This time of year the greenhouse is overflowing with annuals in different shapes, colors, and sizes for both the shade and sun. You can match your colors to your home decor or mix and match. The sky’s the limit!
Annuals are easy but you do have to show them a little love. Follow these easy steps for success:
- Plant in well-draining soil. Compaction and standing water are the kiss of death for any plant. Use our Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix when potting up your outdoor containers, and use our Van Wilgen’s Professional Planting Mix when planting annuals in the ground. You’ll want to loosen up the soil to allow water to flow through.
- Water plants daily. Unless the soil already feels pretty damp, or it’s recently rained, your annuals like to get a drink of water. Keep in mind that the warmer temperatures will help dry out the soil, so your outdoor annuals will likely need to be watered more frequently than plants kept indoors.
- Fertilize. Start all containers out with Van Wilgen’s Slow Release Fertilizer. Follow up every two weeks with Bloom Booster. Annuals can really handle it. Fertilize the heck out of them. We only get to enjoy them for one year so push them hard!
- Dead Head. Yes, I know that some annuals like petunias claim to be self-shedding. This is somewhat true but the reality is, they get messy looking if you don’t do a little cleanup. Don’t be afraid to finger-pinch off the dead flowers, or you can use snippers if the stalk is a little woodier.
- Hair Cut. Are your annuals getting leggy? Give them a good haircut to restore their bounce. You may have to be a little patient for the bloom to return, but in the long run, you will have a healthier, more productive annual.
As always, if you run into trouble or need a little advice, just pay us a visit or give us a call. We’re here to help!
- We are still practicing social distancing (inside and outside) and ask you to do the same.
- We no longer require masks outside.
- When entering the store or greenhouse, please wear a mask. (Keep in mind, some of our younger staff are not yet fully vaccinated and we’d like to ensure their safety.)
- Choose the right plant for the right place. If you have a sunny, dry spot you’re looking to fill, choose a tree, shrub, or perennial that will be happiest in those conditions. Not sure about plant requirements? See a Van Wilgen’s plant expert and we’ll gladly work with you.
- Proper planting technique is crucial. Dig your hole twice the width of the root ball and no deeper than the height. If you’re planting a container plant make sure to score the roots first. If you’re planting a tree with a wire basket take off all the burlap as well as the basket. In both cases, this will prevent girdled roots from developing. For additional recommendations, be sure to reference our planting guide.
- Add Van Wilgen’s Jump Start starter fertilizer or our organic option, Van Wilgen’s Root Boost to the hole when planting. (Just make sure it comes into contact with the root system.)
- Mix together Van Wilgen’s Premium Planting Mix with your existing soil. If you only add new soil, without any native soil present, the roots will stop dead in their tracks once they outgrow the pocket of nice new soil.
- Backfill the hole with your soil mixture, tamping the soil as you go, to eliminate any air pockets. Add a 2-3” layer of mulch around the base of the plant. Be careful to leave the stem or trunk flare exposed. (Over mulching can lead to its own set of problems!)
- Water the base of the plant thoroughly. Avoid overhead watering. Your new plants will need a deep soaking two to three times a week for the first season, depending on water. Click here to reference our watering guide.
Planting and caring for a veggie garden can be quite a game. It can be challenging, relaxing, frustrating, rewarding, educational, but most importantly…delicious! Who or what is to blame for the problems we may encounter with our veggie gardens? Let’s blame someone or something, shall we? Let’s blame some of the key players in the veggie garden game. The key players that we are going to use as scapegoats are; temperature, soil, light, and water. Sometimes it’s an insect, sometimes a disease, occasionally Mother Nature plays a part, and often the gardener is the guilty one. Let’s face it, folks, none of us are perfect gardeners! We try. We try so hard but sometimes our schedules get in the way or we are just not sure what to do. Should this stop us? Never! Gardening is one of the healthiest and rewarding hobbies we can ever have.
Let’s place some of the blame for a poor performing veggie garden on temperature. Temperature is a key player in the veggie garden game. If it is erratic, too cold, or too hot, it can foul up the game.
If the soil and air are too cold…
•Vegetable seedlings may grow very slowly and turn yellow.
•Tomatoes may stay “greenback” and fail to ripen at the stem end.
•Flowers may prematurely bolt and bloom.
•Leaves may brown and melt away at the tips due to frost.
If temperatures are too hot…
•Leaves may turn brown along the edges and tips from leaf scorch.
•Crops may be stunted.
•Produce can be strongly flavored.
•Beets can develop a bull-eye pattern.
•Onion bulbs may turn gray on the outer layers.
•Flowers may prematurely bloom.
Gardeners don’t have any control over temperature but we can pay attention and be sure not to plant veggies too early in the season.
Soil is a very important player in the game. Without good soil, you will not have good vegetables. Soil deficiencies can throw the veggie garden game completely off.
Here are some examples of what you may come across…
•Lower leaves turning yellow and not falling off the plant may be a sign of low nitrogen.
•New leaves turning yellow while the veins stay green is often an iron deficiency.
•A potassium deficiency shows up as yellow leaf edges with brown spots.
•Purplish leaves and veins indicate a phosphorus deficiency.
•Black circular lesions on the blossom end of veggies is usually due to a lack of calcium.
•Forked and twisted carrots and potatoes mean the soil is too rocky or compact.
Veggie gardeners, you have a lot of control over your soil. Start out right and you will be rewarded with beautiful produce. Simple steps such as; turning over your soil, alleviating compaction with Encap’s Gypsum, fertilizing with Espoma’s Garden-Tone, adjusting your pH with Limestone, and adding rich compost can make all the difference in the world.
Do not downplay how crucial of a player light is to the veggie garden game. Without proper sunlight, issues can occur.
Issues such as…
•Vegetables get sunburned just like people. If you see larger brown, burnt patches on your leaves and/or fruit, the culprit may be too much sun.
•Leaf scorch will cause leaves to turn brown at the tips and edges.
•If leaves are pale green and plants are spindly, they are not getting enough sun and they are desperately reaching for it.
We obviously cannot move the sun but we can help our veggies get the right amount of light. As a rule of thumb, most vegetables that produce fruit can bake in the sun. Veggies such as; tomatoes, peppers, and squash love it. Consider putting your leafier vegetables in the less sunny part of the garden. Salad greens, broccoli, peas, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radish, chard, collards, spinach, and mustard will all tolerate a little less sunlight.
I don’t know if I can label water as the star player of the veggie game but it sure is one of the most important.
Here are some examples of water-related problems:
•Wilted veggies & bone dry soil means too little water.
•Wilted plants & soaking wet soil means too much water.
•Wilted vegetables in a container that recover quickly when watered & wilt quickly again are root-bound.
•Wilted veggies in the ground that have soaking wet soil are poorly drained.
•If leaves turn yellow & drop at the base of the stems first, the plant is getting too much water.
•If leaves turn brown at the tips & edges, they are getting too much sun and too little water.
•Stunted and strongly flavored vegetables may not be getting enough water.
•If tomatoes look scabby they probably received too much water.
Gardening friends, you have so much power when it comes to watering. If Mother Nature is not giving your veggies enough water, it is your job to take over. Plants need consistent, even watering to keep them healthy. Your vegetables would be happier if they were watered at the base as opposed to overhead and please do not let them dry out for too long.
Take good care of your veggies and they will take good care of you.
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!
Thinking about making a raised bed for this season? Well, we’ve got the perfect recipe. A bucket of this, a bag of that, and voila, you have the perfect base to grow the most beautiful veggies. Getting the right recipe for the soil in your raised bed is as delicious as making the perfect stock for your chicken and veggie soup!
Depending on the size of your raised bed(s) and how many you will be serving, determine whether or not you will be buying your soil and compost ingredients mostly in bulk or in bags. Luckily, Van Wilgen’s offers both. It’s a one-stop shop for your recipe list!
RECIPE FOR BUYING IN BULK :
(Ideal for large raised beds or multiple raised beds)
•40% Topsoil in bulk
•40% Compost in bulk
Mix together as best you can. Do not leave in solid, unmixed layers. That leaves us with 20% more of that bed to fill. Here come the secret spices…
Fill remaining 20% of bed with equal portions of:
•Van Wilgen’s Organic Potting Soil (a perfect balance of nutrients and drainage)
•Garden Manure by Fafard (rich aged cow manure veggies love)
•Soilution by Sweet Peet (everything but the kitchen sink…Bio Char, Earthworm castings, Kelp, etc)
Mix all bags into the top 5 inches of bulk topsoil and compost blend.
RECIPE FOR BUYING IN BAGS:
(Serves 1 raised bed or small raised beds)
•40% Van Wilgens Topsoil (perfect base with great drainage)
•40% Van Wilgens Premium Planting Mix (nice blend of topsoil and compost)
Fill remaining 20% of bed with equal portions of:
•Van Wilgens Organic Potting Mix
•Garden Manure by Fafard
•Soilution by Sweet Peet
Sprinkle beds with Garden-Tone by Espoma (organic) or Van Wilgen’s All Purpose Slow Release (conventional).
Now that you have the perfectly blended base for your raised beds, time to add in veggies like tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and squash.
Water and enjoy!
Note: For precise calculations, use the calculator on our website.
Remember, approximately 27 bags of soil = 1 yard of bulk soil!