Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Gardening Tips

Best Plants to Attract Birds

Here are some of the best trees, shrubs, vines, annuals and perennials for attracting birds and other interesting and helpful animals to the garden:

Tulip tree, oaks, hackberry, service berry, hawthorn, persimmon, deciduous yaupon, crabapple, elderberry, Eastern red cedar, scarlet buckeye, flowering dogwood, arrowood viburnum, magnolia, mulberry, black cherry, rusty blackhaw viburnum, and figs.

American beautyberry, Rough leaf dogwood, abelia, winter honeysuckle, roses, flame bush – winged euonymus, Carolina buckthorn, elaeagnus, hollies, leather leaf mahonia, and Chinese photinia.

Cypress vine, coral vine, cross vine, coral honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, grapes, and Carolina snailseed.

Turk’s cap, salvias, lantana, monardas, and chili pequin.

Sunflowers, scarlet sage, polk salat, nasturtium, hibiscus, ixora, and blackberries.

Planting in summer

Plant right now – if it is a container grown plant. Any plant – tree, shrub, ground cover, perennial or annual will almost always be in less stress in the ground than in the black plastic pots sitting above ground in the nurseries. This is a good time to shop the garden centers because they aren’t as crowded and there are some good prices


Organic fertilizer should be applied three times a year; late winter or early spring, early summer and fall. Apply an organic fertilizer to all turf and planting beds at 20 lbs/1000 sq. ft. Repeat every 60 to 90 days during the growing season if greater response is needed. Apply rock powders annually at about 40-80 lbs/1,000 sq. ft. The best choices include lava sand, basalt, and other volcanic materials. This is not necessary if you have volcanic soil. Add bat guano, fish meal, kelp meal or earthworm castings at 10-20 lbs/1,000 sq. ft. to annuals and perennials in the spring and every 60-90 days (if needed) during the growing season. Add a small handful of earthworm castings or soft rock phosphate to each hole when planting bulbs or small transplants. Mist or soak bulbs or seeds before planting in a 1%-5% solution of seaweed, Garrett Juice, aerated compost or some other natural biostimulant.

One of the many advantages of the natural organic program is that fertilizer can be applied any month of the year. One of the best choices is corn gluten meal. Cornmeal is primarily a fungal disease fighter although it has mild fertilizer value. Some of our recent evidence based results indicates that CGM also has disease control value. Use the CGM product at 20 lbs per 1000 sq ft and the cornmeal at least twice that rate.

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