From Mélie’s Garden
Gardening – This and That
This weekend I went into my vegetable garden and took soil samples to send to UConn for soil analysis. You can get the information by Googling UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory. Each area on your property needs a different test. The directions of how you take the soil samples are very explicit and easy to follow. You bag up the soil and fill out a questionnaire and enclose a check for eight dollars for each area you want to have tested. The soil analysis will be very helpful if you have plants that are not doing well in certain areas. My vegetables have been fine, but I think the soil is getting a bit tired and needs a bit of a tune up, so I am looking forward to their reply.
In January, I wrote about growing citrus indoors and got so enthused that I ordered from Logees a Meyer Lemon plant and a Melwa Sweet Kumquat. The Lemon bloomed soon after arrival and then shed all of its leaves. The Kumquat has not bloomed and looks quite happy. I called Logees about the lemon and was assured that I had done nothing wrong. Citrus will often loose its leaves after blooming, but if the plant blooms inside, you need to take a small paintbrush or Q-tip to brush the pollen from one flower to the other in order to get fruit. If the plant blooms outside in the summer, bees and insects will pollinate the plant. I have had a few flies and wasps in my house this winter, but doubt they will have been very good pollinators, so I probably won’t have any lemons until it blooms the next time.
Recently I attended a lecture on succulents given by Katherine Tracy, owner of Advant Gardens, in North Dartmouth, MA. The plants are primarily grown for their foliage and drought resistance. The succulents have proven to be excellent container plants for the New England summer gardener. The plants are easy to care for as long as they are planted in well-draining soil. They only need to be watered when their leaves start to wilt a bit. Succulents can be easily removed from heavy containers in the fall and transplanted into smaller pots and brought inside. They can be replanted outside in the late spring. I have a number of succulents in a container that I have brought in each winter and they have done amazingly well with very little watering all year round. I am careful to put the planter in the shade when I first put it outside, so it doesn’t burn, but after a week or two I move it to a sunny area where it is very happy for the summer. It is fun to select different shapes, sizes and colors of succulents to create an interesting looking combination and they are almost completely carefree.