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Every Saturday and Sunday morning from 6 to 10, GardenLine's Randy Lemmon answers listeners' questions on everything from aphids to zoysias. He's Houston's absolute expert on lawns and gardens, offering help to listeners both with and without "green thumbs."
Randy's a Texas Aggie who truly KNOWS plants and flowers. He explains them with ease and candor, and is as competent a "plant person" as there is. He studies, and he practices. He embraces "new methods" as well as the "old" ways of dealing with problems. Call for Randy's solution for your question ... 713-212-KTRH (5874).
I realize the weather doesn't look too good for trick-or-treating tonight but, after it blows through, the weekend should be a good opportunity to get the first batch of cool-season annuals in the ground. I've always considered Halloween the jumping-off point for them.
You may have already planted some pansies or snapdragons, but those that get planted on Halloween or later are the ones that will look the best in November, December and January.
Cool season annuals such as snapdragons, pansies, sweet alyssum, ornamental kale and cabbage will not only survive, but thrive, if you follow my recommended Flower Planting Technique. Frankly, it not only works for annuals, but for perennials and even small flowering shrubs, too. I've used this regimen for close to 15 years, and has never failed me. It ensures good soil for delicate roots, an organically-rich environment to encourage even more roots, and includes a controlled-release blooming-plant food that should last for at least three months.
Here's how it works. First, push aside as much mulch as possible from the area in a raised bed where you intend to replant an annual from a four-inch pot. Mix in a couple inches of fresh rose soil. Take the annual out of its pot and dip the root ball into a solution of Medina Hasta Gro liquid plant food. (I have also, from time to time, added a capful of the vitamin/hormone supplement Super Thrive to the five-gallon bucket I use for the transplant solution.)
Then, insert the plant delicately into the new rose soil-amended area, spreading out the wet root system. Before you push the mulch back into place, or add new mulch, side-dress the area with a little Nelson's Color Star — that's the slow-release blooming-plant food of choice for me. There are others, like Carl Pool Colorscapes and Fertilome's Start-N-Grow, but none are more readily available than Color Star. There are also organic formulas, such as Microlife's Max Blooms and standard all-purpose organic plant foods like Soil Mender's Yum Yum Mix.
Finally, the mulch goes back into place.
As long as your color pockets stay consistently watered during the first two weeks, you will have great results through January without having to spray them every two weeks with water-soluble plant foods. You might need to give them another shot of slow-release plant food again by January or February, but that's it.
Some important things to remember:
You can get your hands on all the products mentioned above, plus seasonally appropriate annuals and perennials, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at The Calendar Garden, 30730 Old Hockley Road, Magnolia. And I can demonstrate the planting technique for you in person. They always have the right plants and products you need right now, hence the "Calendar" part of their name.
Of course, we will have the final batch of Lemmonhead shirts to give away, first-come, first-served. And since The Calendar Garden has a covered arena, we'll have a great classroom-like setting like we often do at home and garden shows. That means, the first person with B.I.S. will have a crack at our free giveaways.
If you're wondering whether you should bring the kids ... ABSOLUTELY!!! The Calendar Garden will hold a Christmas ornament-decorating workshop for the kiddos right after my appearance, plus a Texas-grown pumpkin patch, duck races, shishkaball, lawn skee ball, ladder golf, pumpkin pong, barrel car train, hay maze, and more!
And you can pre-order Christmas trees right now using PayPal at www.calendargarden.com. Their trees were gorgeous last year, so expect the same. Tiffany at The Calendar Garden says, "You can reserve your beautiful premium-quality Fraser Fir for a deposit of just $25, and by pre-ordering, you will receive a 15 percent discount! There will be a special pick-up day for pre-orders before Thanksgiving, if you want your tree fresh from the farm, still packed in snow. Otherwise, you can come choose your special tree anytime after they arrive. This offer ends Nov. 15th."
Here's the price list:
6'-7' regularly $71.99, pre-order price $61.19
7'-8' regularly $81.99, pre-order price $69.69
9'-10' regularly $129.99, pre-order price $110.49