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Site Selection and soil preparation for perennials

Consider the site before selecting your plants. Although many perennials, such as ferns, tolerate heavy shade, most perennial plants require abundant sunshine. Air circulation is important for avoiding diseases; stagnant, warm, and humid air creates ideal conditions for diseases. Perennial plants also require properly prepared soil, and a few have specific drainage and fertility requirements.

Soil preparation for perennials is similar to soil preparation for annuals. However, you should devote some special attention to perennial bed preparation, because plants may occupy the site for several years with little opportunity to correct any problems. When possible, add sand and organic matter such as bark, peat, or compost to soils well ahead of planting time.

A layer of organic matter 3 or 4 inches deep, worked into the soil a shovel's depth, is usually adequate. Since different types of organic matter work and decompose at different rates in the soil, it is best to use a little of two or three kinds of organic matter than a lot of just one.

Soil testing provides specific recommendations for fertilizer and lime needs. Since lime lasts for several years depending on the type used, never add lime without a soil test. Many fertilizers, such as phosphorus, are best applied and mixed into soils before planting. Perennials need a balance of several nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash; most garden supply stores carry a wide variety of fertilizer mixes. Keep in mind that phosphorus, including that found in bone meal, lasts for several years and need not be applied regularly.

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A brown, plastic container is filled with a variety of plants in varying shades of green. Some grasses stand above the other plants. Other foliage drapes over the sides.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens September 17, 2018

When summer starts to roll around to autumn, some gardens and landscapes nearly start all over, as worn-out summer annuals are composted and new seasonal selections take their place.

Dozens of bright-orange pumpkins sit in rows on the grass.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens September 10, 2018

I came to a shocking realization this past weekend: Even though it still feels like summer, the signs are all around us that fall is about to begin.

First, we see the tropics heating up with storm activity. T.S. Gordon made landfall in Pascagoula Sept. 5 and spread rain all the way up to north Mississippi. Behind it are several more tropical storms that we will have to keep an eye on.

Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Vegetable Gardens September 4, 2018

Garden enthusiasts and horticultural industry professionals can enjoy the largest home gardening show in the Southeast Oct. 12 and 13.

A single branch has bunches of white berries growing at each leaf junction.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens September 3, 2018

I’ve noticed a common characteristic among us gardeners. As we go through the year, our favorite plants in the landscape and garden seem to change from week to week.

Two long, green bell peppers hang from a plant growing in a container above black plastic.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens August 27, 2018

Several weeks ago, I wrote about looking forward to the time of year when ornamental peppers start strutting their gorgeous fruit colors. What I didn’t mention is that late summer is not just for ornamental peppers; I always get my best home-grown culinary peppers from August until frost in the fall.

My tastes for culinary peppers range from the mild and colorful bell peppers all the way to the superhot selections like Ghost, Scorpion and Carolina Reaper.

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Ornamental Peppers
Southern Gardening

Ornamental Peppers

Sunday, September 16, 2018 - 7:00am
Summer Vinca
Southern Gardening

Summer Vinca

Sunday, September 9, 2018 - 7:00am
Summer Penta
Southern Gardening

Summer Penta

Sunday, September 2, 2018 - 7:00am
Calibrachoa Color
Southern Gardening

Calibrachoa Color

Sunday, August 26, 2018 - 2:00am
Summer Long Container Color
Southern Gardening

Summer Long Container Color

Sunday, August 19, 2018 - 2:00am

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