CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — According to AJ Petitti, President of Petitti Garden Centers, the recent heat and moisture is helping gardens get off to a strong start, including the Fox 8 garden that was planted last week. AJ Petitti turned his attention this week to answering viewer questions:
How often should I water, and does it make a difference with vegetable/flower beds vs. containers?
Watering once a day, especially in this heat, is a good idea. Whether bed or container, the most important aspect is good drainage, so that plants receive water but don’t sit in it, which would cause rotting at the root level. Watering wands are helpful in providing a gentle shower, while soaker hoses are useful for reducing labor and time spent watering.
When should I start fertilizing my new plants?
Using slow-release “starter” fertilizer at the time of planting is a good idea to stimulate fresh root growth and help plants establish quickly. For flowers, a good option is Osmocote® Smart Release® granules, which last about one month in containers. For vegetables, choose Espoma® Organic® options like Garden-tone® or Tomato-tone®. For roses, use BioAdvanced All-In-One Rose & Flwoer Care once each month, which works to fertilize and control common insects & disease. With all slow-release fertilizers, there is no concern for overdoing it so long as you are following package directions.
What does “once established” mean on the plant tag and when will my plant reach this milestone?
This is the point when the plant has taken root enough that it can rely more on Mother Nature and less on the gardener for general support. For annual flowers, vegetables, and perennials, this can be a few weeks. For trees and shrubs, this can be 2-3 years. Using “starter” fertilizers like Espoma® Organic® Bio-tone® at the time of planting can make a big difference in launching the development of the root system in-ground. When it comes to plant tags, always hang onto them so you can remember what you’ve planted and use those tags for quick-reference care information.