Gardening: Diversity adds excitement to seasonal gardens
Rodd Moesel explains why diversity makes gardening more fruitful and satisfying.
Here we are already at the halfway point of calendar year 2012 and almost 40 percent of the way through the 2012 growing season.
Our growing season typically runs from our last freeze date in early- to mid-April to our first freeze date in late October or early November.
But individual crops have their own calendars and time frames that may be based on day length, sun intensity, temperature and moisture availability.
Some crops peak in the early spring like tulips, daffodils and forsythia. Others will peak in the fall, and a few very hardy crops actually peak in the heat of the summer such as okra, penta, lantana and crape myrtle. Our yards and landscapes are the most exciting when we plant a variety of plants so that we have color or can harvest at different points of the growing season. This diversity adds excitement to your decor and the aesthetic view and value of your property. It can also enhance your interest in spending time outdoors in the yard to observe the many seasonal changes.
You can plant container grown plants, even in the heat at this time of year as long as you stay on top of their watering needs. Persistently hot temperatures along with little or no rain for weeks has put us back into drought conditions and many established trees and shrubs are under extreme stress. New plantings likely will not survive without supplemental watering. Established trees, shrubs and even flowers and vegetables will be rooted deeper into the earth where there is at least some moisture in the soil that they can suck up and use. Those of you who are growing plants in container gardens can observe that plants in small pots will dry out much quicker and need water more often because their container does not have as much soil mass, and cannot hold as much moisture after a watering where plants in large containers can go longer and need watering less often, but still more often than flowers or vegetables growing in a flower bed in the ground.