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Monthly Garden Gossip

May, 2017

Welcome to our garden! We're proud of our hard work and want to share the reward with you, so here is what's going on in the garden this month..Central Alabama

Fruit Trees

Are some of your high chilling fruit trees showing signs of stress? With the drought we had last summer combined with the low chill hours we received this past winter it is no wonder. Pruning may help stimulate the tree to produce leaves or you might consider spraying the tree with Gibberellic Acid.

Gibberellic Acid is a hormone found in plants and fungi. It is a simple gibberellin, a pentacyclis diterpene acid promoting growth and elgongation of cells. It helps plants grow if used in small amounts. Gibberellic Acid is considered an organic. It is used in the grape insdustry as a hormone to induce the productionn of larger bundles and bigger grapes as well on Clementine Mandarin oranges, which may otherwise cross-pollinate with other citrus and grow undesirable seeds. Applied directly on the blossoms as a spray it allows for Clementines to produce a full crop of fruit without seeds. It is used also on camellias, to stimulate the flowers forcing them to bloom earlier in the fall so they won't be harmed by cold weather.

Many forms of dormancy are broken with GA. If your tree does not leaf out there is a good chance it will die. While spraying your friut tree with GA will not produce a fruit crop it will stimulate the tree to produce leaves which may save your tree. The tree should be trying to leaf out before spraying with the GA. Always follow the directions on the bottle for the application rate.

Madam Lombard


May is definitely the month for roses. They are all in full bloom right now and smell divine. Once your roses that flower once in the spring finish blooming you may prune them back and give them some fertilizer. The repeat flowering roses can be pruned for shape and also fertilized.

Roses can be planted anytime during the year as long as they can be watered well during the first year after planting. We have many old garden roses which are grown on their own roots and require minimal spraying. Just some fertilizer and a little pruning and you are good to go.


Peaches, plums, cherries should be sprayed for shuck split with a fruit tree spray, a combination of captan and malathion.  This controls sucking insects, aphids and scale.  This spray also controls scab and plum curculio which causes wormy fruits and brown rot.  Chlorothalonil can be added for superior scab control.

Keep spraying your daylilies for aphids they are still out there. Use Neem or Malathion. In lieu of spraying you can use a fertilizier with a systemic insectcide or one of the Bayer products that is systemic. It can be mixed in a watering can and poured on the daylilies, it lasts up to 60 days. Spraying your daylillies with Neem with also help with the rust problem they often have.


All danger of frost has passed and you can now safely plant basils and other frost tender herbs. There are so many basils to try it is hard to choose but I always like to have at least a few regular Italian Basil to go along with my tomatoes. African Blue basil is beautiful and the bees just love it. There is Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil, Thai Basil and Large Leaf Italian Basil. They all lend just a little different flavor to your favorite dish.



Lets talk about the vegetable garden. Shelley has grown a wide variety of tomato plants this year. There are heirloom, slicing, paste and cherry tomato plants and many in between.

When planting your tomatoes, remove all but a few of the very top leaves and plant them deep so that they can form roots along the stem or use the trench method and lay the root and stem in a trench curving the end with the leaves up and cover the stem with soil.  Your plant will make a much larger root system making them more drought tolerant. I often put a hand full of pulverized limestone in the hole when planting, it helps to prevent blossom end rot.

We also have bulk vegetable seeds that are sold by the tablespoon for $1.00.

In the vegetable area there are plants of squash, cucumber, melons, malabar spinach, peppers and many others for those of you that need just a couple of plants.

Check your squash plants for squash bugs and vine borers. The vine borers can ruin your entire crop. Row covers work well but remember to remove them when the plant flowers so the bees can pollinate the them.

Tomato Plants

cucumber and squash

Cucumber and Squash Plants

Don't forget the Black and Blueberry Festival is Saturday, June 10. The blackberries are in full bloom right now. We should start picking blackbrries about the first of June. If you would like to pick blackberries be sure to call the retail shop at 205-646-0069 to make sure that we are picking that day
It is not to late to plant summer annuals from seed such as zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers. We offer the seed by teaspoon and tablespoon for $1.00. The birds love the sunflowers and the butterflies adore zinnias.

I have already pulled up my pansies. It has been so hot here that they were in sad shape. Time to start planting the summer color or maybe even just containers. The selection is excellent right now. Lacey will be doing a seminar on Container planting on May 13, at 10:30. She will be showing how to combine different plants to get a spectacular looking container.


Annual Verbena