Now that you have selected a flowering, shade or fruit tree let it give you years of pleasure by following these steps.
1- Location is essential for flowering, fruit bearing and shade trees.
- Full sun.
- Preferably well drained soil.
- Irrigation source.
- Right tree for the planting site. Where do you desire shade for cooling properties and where do you want full sun during the fall and winter months?
2 – Spacing of the tree in relation to buildings and other trees and plantings.
- Flowering trees: refer to the tag or your local county extension/Master Gardener.
- Shade trees need a very wide spacing due to shading capacity of the tree and its shape.
- Fruit trees are planted depending on their characteristic. Does the tree selected require a pollinator tree? Early, mid-season and late-season fruit bearing trees may each require a season specific pollinator. Your local county extension/Master Gardener will be helpful in your selections.
- Standard should be planted 25 feet apart.
- Semi-dwarf should be planted 12 to 15 feet apart.
- Dwarf should be planted 8 to 10 feet apart.
3 – Make sure the planting site is free of overhead/underground utilities, structures and easements.
4 – Now you are ready to plant.
5 – Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and doubled the width of the root ball. Notice the tarp? This is the best way to save the soil you have dug plus it makes for an easier clean-up.
- This is the time to add soil amendments such as compost, peat moss, kelp meal, bone meal , sand, etc. These amendments should fill the hole 1/3 to 1/2, mixed with the existing soil. The amounts will vary depending on the size of the root ball.
- This establishes a good root system and enhances the transplanting thus reducing stress to the tree.
6 – When placing the root ball in the ground make sure it is 1/2 inch to one  inch above the ground level. Planting above the ground level allows for the settling of the root ball.
- Where the trunk of the tree meets the root system is called the root flare. This juncture needs to be 1/2 to one  inch above the ground level.
- This step is crucial for a successful tree planting and continued growth and development of a healthy tree.
7 – Back fill and make a moat around the perimeter of the hole with the dirt dug from the tree planting. This moat will act as a reservoir and capture water thus reducing run-off and enhance the growth of the tree roots. This insures the tree receives proper moisture.
8 – The use of mulch is up to you.
- If mulch is used, do not place the mulch against the base of the tree.
- The base of the tree may respond to this mulch as soil and may stimulate root growth above the tree flare.
- See the possible results from “volcano” mulching. Notice the rotted tree flare. Besides it looks dumb!!!!!
It is important to stick to these steps for a tree you will enjoy for years to come.
For a sprint to the finish line try Greyhound (Ersterling) cabbage. Just 63 days for this heirloom variety from transplant and you will have lovely pointed head cabbages.
Eaten raw or cooked, this cabbage has a light sweet taste. Cold or hot weather will not stop this cabbage from performing its’ best. Greyhound did well grown in my hoop house. Plant it spring or fall. This one is a winner!
Aren’t they pretty!
Plants are blooming early this year in the Missouri Ozarks. Add to that some crazy temperature swings. This morning (Feb. 29) it was 26° and in the 70°s this afternoon.
Papa planted Sugar Ann snap peas in the hoop house.
Check out these veggies growing in the hoop house!!
The Cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage & collards) were started January 29 and are now ready to plant.
Gardening is such fun!!
Now is the time to start Sweet Peas for winter and early spring production. Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are members of the legume family Fabiaceae which hail from Southern Italy, Sicily and the Aegean Islands.
Henry Eckford of Scotland is responsible for the incredible crosses which produced many of the famous heirloom varieties known today. The noted beauty and fragrance is a direct attribute of the careful breeding by Eckford in the late 1800s through 1906. The breeding production of today focus on stem length and lasting abilities of cut flowers.
Sweet Peas require scarification (nicking or abrading the seed coat to enhance seed germination). Warm water soaking of the seeds may also enhance germination.
Use a nail file or nail clippers to nick the seed coat. The nicking or “chipping” will speed up the germination process. By the way, this is a tedious process. Make sure you give your self plenty of time to keep on schedule for your planting area.
Planting in large cell packs or 4″ pots for transplants is a proper way to plant exactly where you desire. Start the process by using a soiless soil mix with generous compost added. Make sure the soil is adequately moist and plant the seed 1″ deep. I usually plant two seed per cell or pot. Once planted, water in the cell packs/pots and place where the soil temperature is 65° to 68° (F). I know that sounds pretty cold but that is what sweet peas prefer.
The correct germination temperature will insure proper germination in 7 to 10 days. When most of the seeds have germinated move the seed flats to a much cooler area (45° to 55° (F)). A mildly heated greenhouse, coldframe or hoop house will do the trick. Sweet pea seedlings can take it down to 32° (F). The added benefit is stronger and cold tolerant seedlings.
Sweet peas may be bothered by aphids when planted outside. The aphids spread disease and stunt the plants and subsequent production. The other area for concern is powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is caused by too much shade and poor air movement. Watch cultural practices (such as full sun and planting further apart to provide air circulation) to prevent the scourge of this pernicious disease.
Be careful with sweet pea seeds! They are toxic for consumption. If you have small children the seeds could be enticing!
I will keep you posted on future development.
It is hard to believe how fast the veggies grow in the warm temperatures this winter!
The lettuce, radish, arugula, beets, spinach and Oriental greens seedlings were started November 30th.
The broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard and kale transplants have tripled in size. The color and texture are simply marvelous!
Sweet Peas will be started this weekend and should be ready to pick by late winter/early spring. The transplants will be started in cell packs to be planted by mid-January.
It has been so warm, the rhubarb and strawberries are starting to take off.
You should definitely try your hand at Fall and Winter gardening.
I can hardly wait to make a batch of Kimchi (fermented Chinese cabbage and vegetables). The “Hilton” Chinese cabbage is ready to harvest. A few more ingredients and I’ll be ready to go.
The seedlings were started in early March. They were transplanted into the hoop house the first week of April. Look at the results above! This Chinese cabbage is gorgeous!!!
Brassica rapa sub. Pekinensis is the famed Napa cabbage used for stir fry, saute and Kimchi. Kimchi in its varied forms is a favorite of Korean cuisine. This spicy, highly seasoned fermented cabbage is a staple of the Korean diet. Plus, fermented foods are bursting with beneficial bacteria to boost digestive health.
The “Hilton” Chinese cabbage is an open pollinated variety. My observations of this Chinese cabbage indicate a vigorous growth similar to hybrids. It performs well in warm/hot weather. Other open pollinated varieties would have bolted (gone to flower) by now. It is truly a remarkable variety!!
“Hilton” Chinese cabbage may be obtained at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. http://www.rareseeds.com/chinese-cabbage-hilton/
It is very important that you supply the correct varieties of milkweed for your specific location.
For instance, I live in the Missouri Ozarks. The recommended varieties are: http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Milkweeds-of-Central-US_plus-vendors_XercesSociety.pdf
- Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
- Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
- Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)
- Green Antelopehorn (Asclepias viridis)
- Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)
Sunset Flower AKA Scarlet Milkweed AKA Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is not recommended for a Monarch butterfly larval plant in North America. Tropical Milkweed is native to South America. It is now becoming an invasive species in the southern states of America. The Monarchs that consume this variety become prey to additional parasites. Subsequently, this variety weakens the larvae and butterfly. Lastly, the Monarchs are not migrating to Mexico because they have a constant supply of the wrong food.
Check out these links for native milkweed in your area:
Don’t forget nectar producing plants for your Monarchs as well. Some of their favorites include:
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
California Lilac (Ceanothus)
Daisy (Aster and Chrysanthemum)
Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)
Rabbit Brush (Chryssothamnus)
Rock Cress (Arabis)
Star Clusters (Pentas)
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia)
Wall Flower (Erysimum)