SLC Grower’s Mix

SLC-Growers-MIx-600After watching a couple of years of Monty Don on “Gardeners’ World,” one of the differences I noticed was he doesn’t use peat moss in the U.K. He mainly uses a lot of compost, perlite and grit.  I’ve also never seen him use fertilizer other than compost which he makes himself.

You would be hard pressed to find this mixture in any nursery or big box store.

What I have found is a mix which seems similar to what Monty Don uses.

SLC Grower’s Mix has a combination of pine bark fines, compost and PBH rice hulls, although they wouldn’t tell me the exact percentages.

When I talked to SLC they did indicate that they would recommend using Osmocote if I was planning to grow from small size to large size in a pot. He recommended using a medium dosage.  They do include a small starter nutrition in the mix and a micro-nutrient charge.

The product will be a bit drier since it drains so well. You may have to water more often.

I’m going to be doing some tests with this product versus my standard BX ProMix.  The SLC mix is only $6 per 2 cu. ft. bag.

You would obviously be better off buying the mix in bulk, if you have a place to dump it.

The one odd thing about this mix is that it is in bags which say Cotton Blossom Compost.

cotton-blossom-compost-400

 

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Filed under Seeds, soil, Soil Amendments

Monarchs and Hummingbirds

Monarchs-LE-DSC05104-600In St. Louis, we finally have confirmation of the first monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. Margy Terpstra has a great blog which shows these recent sightings.

If you have some milkweed which you have started inside, now would be the time to put some out. I would probably leave it in the pot for a week or two since we still may have some freezing weather. For laying eggs, Monarchs don’t care whether it’s in the pot or in the ground. Group it together to make it easier for them to find.

Also start putting out your hummingbird feeder since they are also back in St. Louis. Margy has a great picture of them nectaring on Bluebells. It’s a great early season native flower.

 

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Filed under Hummingbirds, Monarchs

New Plants in April

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In St. Louis, Missouri, April is always a month for safety first when it comes to new plants. Many new plants that I buy or have started in the basement are much better off outside, but with temperatures below freezing at times, you have to figure out how to protect the plants.

I don’t plant until after May 1st, so I have to keep on top of the weather for all of April.

Here is one way I use to protect my plants.
I put them on a rolling shelf unit. When the temperature is above 45 degrees, I roll out the plants and give them water and sunshine. I don’t put them in full sun all day, but will start them out in sunshine and then move them to a shady area.

At night when the temperatures go below 40 degrees, I bring them inside the garage for protection.

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Raised Beds

If you are looking to put in a raised bed garden, here is a nice video. Schools in particular may prefer the three foot width to make it easier for kids to garden in the bed.

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Filed under Schools, soil

When to Plant?

I am already getting questions on when to plant in the St.Louis area, so I thought I’d do a little research on the weather averages.

May 1st is my standard answer for best planting date and it seems to stand the test of time. While you can certainly put in tougher plants like pansies, most annuals and more tender plants need the warmer temperatures.

If you look at the graph below, you can see that while the Normal Lows for April are in the 50’s by the end of the month, the Record Lows can be in the 20’s and 30’s. The Climate Graphs for May also show that there are no instances of freezing weather in the last fifty years.

May 1st seems to be a good planting date in this area. If you want to live dangerously you can plant earlier, but I would look at the 10 day forecast to be safe.

Temperature-Averages-Saint-Louis

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Filed under Gardening, Weather

Free Tropical Milkweed Seeds

monarch-dsc04726I have some milkweed seeds that I’d be glad to share. The seeds are Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica.

Plant the seed so it is slightly covered and keep warm and moist to start. If you start these inside, you can get a a head start on spring. Plant when all danger of frost is gone – usually around May 1st in St. Louis Missouri.

Another option is to plant the seeds in the soil and let them come up naturally.

You can pick these up at Saturday’s presentation – March 3rd – 1 p.m. at Whitecliff Recreation Center – Crestwood, Missouri.

OR – please send a SASE – Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to:

Free Milkweed Seeds
9016 Robyn Rd
St. Louis, MO 63126

The best way to start these seeds is with bottom heat. 

80-degrees-covered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80 degrees and seeds slightly covered seems to be the best. I did put the plastic top on this to keep in the heat and moisture.

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Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants

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Sue’s Backyard

Tuesday, March 27th.

7:00 p.m. at the Oak Bend branch of the St. Louis County Library
842 South Holmes, St. Louis, MO 63122 (near I-44 and Big Bend).

Presentation by Susan Leahy and Dawn Weber.

Sue and Dawn are two of the best St. Louis experts on native plants.
They both have front and back yards filled with native plants.

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Filed under Butterfly Gardening