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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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Close-up of a portion of a clear bottle filled with bright blue liquid that is water-soluble fertilizer dissolved in water, against a blurred dark green background.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens March 22, 2019

Now is the time to fertilize some landscape plants, but there are several different kinds of fertilizers available. MSU Extension horticulture specialist Gary Bachman helps you understand what’s in fertilizer and the different types available.

Dr. Gary Bachman
Filed Under: Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens March 20, 2019

BILOXI, Miss. -- Southern Gardening host and columnist Gary Bachman earned a 2019 Great American Gardener Award from the American Horticultural Society.

Bachman is a horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service working from the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He received the American  Horticultural Society’s B.Y. Morrison Communications Award, which recognizes effective and inspirational communication through print, radio, television or online media with the goal of advancing public interest and participation in horticulture.

A mostly red tomato is shaped almost like the letter “U.”
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Vegetable Gardens March 18, 2019

Many folks have been waiting for this moment: the day it’s warm enough and past the main threat of frost to become tomato planting time.

Close up of a pink rose bloom.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens March 15, 2019

If you’re thinking of planting roses, spring is one of the best times. MSU Extension/From Extension Publication 2835 “Roses in Mississippi” 

Pea-sized redbud flowers hang from thin tree branches.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens March 11, 2019

What a crazy late winter and early spring we’ve had so far this year: warm, cold and repeat.

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Starting Plants Indoors

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Butterfly Gardening from Scratch

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