Posts Tagged ‘trees’

This is a probably unnecessary but something we overly scrutinous gardener-types love. A cheap and easy formula that makes us feel like we are more caring than those other gardeners who just use plain water–oh the horror–on newly transplanted plants.

Whether it actually does anything is up for debate, but if it makes you feel proactive, like me, then go for it.

1-2 gallons warm water
2 tea bags (regular black)
1 12 oz can of beer (cheap kind is fine)
1 tsp dish soap

Put warm water in a bucket and add the tea bags. Let steep overnight. Then the next day, remove the tea bags and add the other ingredients. One could probably substitute regular coffee grounds for this but I haven’t tried it.

Pour over newly transplanted plants, as much as one would water according to their type. For example, a tree would get as much as a half gallon, but a tiny tomato plant would get only a cup full.

The tea contains caffeine which may or may not perk up drowsy plants, and the beer contains slight carbonation, which makes CO2 immediately available to the roots, like a breath of fresh air. It also contains slight sugars which could turbo charge root growth. And dish soap breaks water’s surface tension making the ingredients easier for roots to absorb. Yummy.


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For those who caught on, this picture of me inspecting our bare root tree order also shows me with a foamy bucket and some sticks (trees) sticking out. This is the magic formula for soaking your bare root plants prior to planting out.

Why should you soak your bare root plants prior to planting? Well, The roots are dormant and have been out of the ground for an undefined amount of time. Soaking helps them get soft and tender again, and tells the plant to get ready to wake up and start growing! It also washes off any chemicals or water retention pellets they may have been packed with. It also helps kill any mold that may have accidentally started to grow on the roots (I found mold on my strawberry and asparagus roots back in the day–not pretty). All in all, soaking is a healthy habit to start if you are ordering bare root plants.

Soak for anywhere from 2 to 24 hours prior to planting.

1-2 gallons warm water
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp dish soap
1 tsp bleach

Combine ingredients in a bucket, being careful not to splash any bleach back onto your clothes. Be sure to use warm water, not hot. Add your bare root plants, being careful not to overcrowd. I don’t recommend immersion of the whole plant, just the root portion, so adjust the water level accordingly.

Soak for 2 to 24 hours prior to planting, then plant as usual. The same or next day, water your new plants with some Transplant Water.

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I’m back after almost 6 months off! I have a really good excuse, though.

This is Baby at 12 weeks along. S/He is now 27 weeks along and weighs about 2 lbs.

That’s right, we’re expecting our first baby and I’m already 6 months along: due September 1st. Plus this was the rainiest spring in my memory. The local crop reports had only 2% of the local corn crop in by the usual planting time. Plus all the soil around here is clay and it takes days for it to dry out after a rain and we just kept getting pounded day after day with 1 inches or more at a time. Brutal time for our farmers.

I was also (and continue to be) extremely busy. I was barely able to keep my poor seedlings alive, what with our unheated garage and very cold early spring. I was also dealing with morning sickness, getting a garage sale together (major work!), and cleaning out our future nursery. Plus joining an expectant mothers online forum (due date club), becoming a weekly online chat co-host, and not wanting to cook anything (food aversions) made me disinclined to continue my blog for the time being.

But now I’m back! And today was planting day! I finally finished tilling out my garden plots (yes, I admit: I worked my soil when it was wet. Ha, ha. Hardly had a choice, you know?) I was 2 weeks “late” but my neglected seedlings needed the extra time. Plus I kinda forgot about the hardening off process. I usually baby my plants over a 2 week period, but this time I pushed them into hardening off in just 8 days. They seem to be adapting good, though. Please see my Seed List for a complete list of what I’m growing this year.

I’m going to finish up planting my peppers and squash tomorrow and then I’ll be done except for staking, daily watering (unless it rains—ha!), and occasional weeding. Oh, and mowing the yard of course. That’s right, I’m 6 months pregnant and I’m still doing all my usual outdoor chores. But my midwife encourages cardiovascular exercise.

Also big news: we got our tree order!! Two years in the making, and we finally just up and ordered the 10 trees and 4 bushes that I wanted. Now I have to try and keep them alive too, and I still have to cut their tags off and mulch. They are so tiny! To think, in 3 years or so we might be getting fruit! Here’s what we ordered:

  • Hall’s Hardy Almond
  • Russian Mulberry
  • 5-in-1 Dwarf Apple
  • 5-in-1 Dwarf Pear
  • 5-in-1 Dwarf Stone Fruit (a.k.a. Fruit Cocktail Tree)
  • Dwarf Sweet Cherry
  • Dwarf North Star Cherry (Sour)
  • Paw Paw (3 quantity)
  • Tophat Blueberry (2 quantity—in pots)
  • Honeyberry (2 quantity)
Here I am inspecting the shipment:

I'm inspecting our tree shipment looking for dead or diseased plants, broken branches, etc.

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