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Monday, September 8, 2008

I'll take a dozen finches...

Out my window this morning about a dozen little gold finches are feeding from thistle socks that are either hung from the little dogwood or from the support posts under the carport/patio roof. A very pleasant view! I've also noticed a little hummingbird visiting the hibiscus flowers.

Yesterday I gave many of my flowers little haircuts and small handfuls of 10/10/10 fertilizer before soaking them well. I used the granulated fertilizer on my holly and gardenia shrubs too.

About a month ago I fed the gardenias and certain other things like azalea and hydrangea and camellia with the azaea fertilizer instead. It is for acid loving plants specifically.

The 10/10/10 just gives a balanced dose of nitrogen, potasium and phosphate. Its good to feed the plants over the course of summer, I usually wait til them seem to need a boost.

A rule of thumb I had heard once was to feed with something like miracle grow every FIVE waterings. I think that gets too pricey since here in the south you water container plants almost daily most of the summer.

I just use 10/10/10. Its much less pricey and I think the feedings last much longer as it breaks down more slowly.I also like to use fish emulsion when I can afford it. The plants love that too. I like it in particular for a spring and fall tonic on the plants makes me feel like I'm giving them a treat. The smell when you use it in water reminds me of the lakes up in Northern Wisconsin where our family used to fish so often. (if you smell it straight from the bottle though--P-U.)

Osmocote is supposed to last for a few months--well its also terribly pricey. I see similar results in plant growth and health with 10/10/10 and I only use it a few times over the long summer here and my plants look really nice. Everything is healthy and full and green.

The veggie garden made way more stuff than I had expected and I gave up keeping track of amounts as it was just constant--especially the tomatoes. Funny cuz its a 'bad tomato year' here according to many folks I've talked to. Not in Pokeberry! I'm planning to shut down about 1/2 of the veggie garden very soon and move some perenials out there possibly.

I do use my homemade compost as well when I have it, but I like to add the extra boost of a balanced inexpensive fertizer. I looked into using an organic substitute once for 10/10/10--well turns out you'd need I think it was 22 pounds of various ingredients to make up the same amount of NPK as you'd get in 5 pounds of 10/10/10. I wish I had the reference I found handy so I could link to that recipe here. Anyhow-- I think I'm accurate on this. I do know its significantly more expensive and more stuff to be hauling about and dumping on plants and lawn, thus much more work.

I use 10/10/10 on the lawn as well and some lime--about once or twice a year. I don't put any weed killers on the lawn usually except roundup when I need to kill something specific in a targeted area. Our lawns over the years have usually been maintained just by mowing and we haven't worried exactly if the grass has some odd things growing in it. Healthy grass crowds out most other plants--at least well enough for me. I don't need to live on a golf course.

The 'ecosystem' in the yard is fine and dandy as far as I can tell. There's plenty of insects, butterflies, moths, crickets, bees, all manner of birdies and kitty's too. Everybody seems happy. Including me, I love being in Pokeberry on a nice day.

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