Spring Planting 2013

Spring_April-2-2013_02As I demonstrate with the photo image [shot in morning of April 2nd 2013] I took with my camera left of this paragraph – “global warming” is total nonsense. Since the revelation through email from the leading organization behind this hoax, junk scientists blackballing fellow scientists who have demonstrated that global warming is not doomsday as the media so gleefully and diligently proclaimed – and Al Gore made millions off, plus an Oscar and a Nobel Prize. After the revelation from those emails between scientists were published, the progressives and others have changed “global warming” into another term – “climate change”.
Al Gore certainly deserves retribution for his charade.

Maggie, over at Maggie’s Notebook just posted something that may finally force junk scientists and the corporate media to fess up. Weather Channel founder who has been against the global warming hoax from the beginning, has found 30,000 scientists worldwide who will testify and sign a petition in an intended lawsuit against Al Gore for using the media misinformation and manipulation to make himself millions along with his globalist partners. Personally I would like some global warming where temperatures were above the high 30s/42[day] and 20s [night] on April 1st; enabling me to plant earlier than Memorial Day weekend. [May]

This article is about spring planting. Well, here in Wisconsin, spring planting does not happen until May. Last year there was a brief early warming period and then the weather returned to normal, thus causing devastation in the orchards here at the Peninsula and cherry prices skyrocketing.

I digress … here is the video, followed by my Spring Planting tips for 2013 ….

bar_goldcable1SPRING PLANTING 2013

boyhackIf you are ordering your plants, seeds, and bulbs, do so in late winter, early spring to ensure they arrive in time. Most suppliers will only ship when it is safe for your Zone. You can also purchase plants locally, like tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, cucumbers, et cetera. The alternative, of course, is purchasing plats of seed starter pods and starting your own either in your house or in a greenhouse. The latter is great, if you can afford to build it, because if it is heated, you can grow tomatoes, pepper, and so on all through winter.

Prepare for Planting

hand_point2  Use a soil test kit to test the pH level for the plants you wish to establish. If you do not want to invest in a soil kit, you can take a sample to local agricultural center – but it will probably be cheaper to do it yourself. Most plants prefer neutral soil between 6.6-7.0 pH. However, azaleas, blue flowering hydrangea, and blackberries require acidic soil at pH 5.5-6.0.

hand_point2  Use nutrients/fertilizer mix to obtain the correct pH reading to increase or decrease acidity when required.

hand_point2  Mix peat and planting soil and sand, or use the pre-mix bags sold by Miracle Grow for soil that is heavy with clay. I use the Miracle Grow planting mix with time-release plant food. You can find cheaper bags of planting soil, but they may not be sterile and have weed seeds in it, and rarely have proper peat and other ingredients that make loose workable soil.

hand_point2  After digging or punching holes at proper depth for plants, loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole several inches for good root establishment. You can mix fertilizer at this time at the bottom of the hole or use fertilizer sticks/capsules if you did not purchase Miracle Grow planting soil with plant food. This helps the roots to be planted in their natural form and helps for healthy root and plant growth. This step is only necessary if roots are well established and loose from their potting environment. When you purchase plants locally, most often the roots are “pot bound” and quite thick with soil from the starter pot filled around the roots. If that is the case, just score the four sides with a knife or other sharp instrument and trim the bottom of excess roots, which I will explain later.

hand_point2  After placing the plant or bulb in the hole at the correct depth, compact the soil around the roots with your fingers and water them thoroughly. Sometimes folks do not do this important step or not sufficient and air pockets remain around the roots, which could hinder healthy growth or kill them. Whenever transplanting or seeding always water thoroughly. I partially bury the roots and then sprinkle Miracle Grow planting soil around the base and compact it, then water again. I then use the remaining soil from the hole to properly cover the roots and the required part of the stem of the plant, pressing and watering again. If you did not place fertilizer, sticks or capsules into the hole, you can do so after planting.

Planting Guide for Bulbs

boyhackMost bulbs come with planting depth and other instructions. Bulbs that remain in the ground should mulched in the late fall to protect them over the winter, as with other plants. It also retains moisture during the growing season.

hand_point2  When planting bulbs, place in hole pointed end up and cover with loose soil. Unlike rooted transplants the soil does not require packing, but it would not hurt if you do so if your soil is loamy and pliable like garden soil should be.

hand_point2  After bulb plants bloom do not cut back the leaves, unless you are worried about how they look – the decomposing leaves will add nourishment for the next season.

barlookCAUTION: Hyacinth bulbs should be handled with gloves because they may cause skin irritation. Using gloves, keep hands away from face and eyes. Wash hands, even when wearing gloves, after planting.

Perennial Bareroot & Potted Plants

boyhackWhen plants are delivered or bought at local store, they are usually potted plants; but some plants come packaged bareroot and dormant. I always soak bareroot plants for an hour or two in a bucket of water before planting. When I dig the proper depth hole for the new plants, I build a mound in the center of the hole, ensuring the correct depth is still maintained. This provides a small hill that you can place the bareroot plant so the roots rest in the soil naturally. Then cover ¼ to ½ with soil and pack. Add water and resume covering with dirt until covered properly. Then soak with water again.

hand_point2  When planting potted plants ensure the potted soil is moist, if not water. Most potted plants now come with containers that are biodegradable, which means they do not have to be removed from a plastic pot. Either way, most often the roots have grown enough to be packed tightly in the pot. Score the sides of plants in plastic pots and trim off about ¼ of the roots on the bottom with a sharp knife or garden scissors/shears. If in biodegradable pots, cut the bottom out and split the sides and place in hole of proper depth. Cover with soil, pack and water thoroughly.

hand_point2  Plants that are transplanted, even those started by seed, should be watered thoroughly, especially in the first week or two of germinating or potted plants establishing. However, be careful of overwatering some plants. Follow guides concerning the plants you are transplanting.

hand_point2  The rule of thumb is water the first two weeks on a daily basis, usually in the early evening or early morning. It is best to water at the base of the plant and not over the top. This helps in deterring plant diseases that thrive in moist environments.

Ground Cover Plants

boyhackDig holes and stagger plantings to create a natural effect; plant spaced according to directions with plants. They will spread rapidly in most cases, especially if cared for while they start. Spread a 1” to 2” layer of mulch in the area surrounding the plants, but do not bury them. It helps to retain water and prevents weeds from retarding their growth until they spread.


boyhackMost vines grow best when allowed to climb vertically, but you can grown them horizontally along a fence. When planting near a building, fence, wall, or tree, plant 18” from the structure that will support it. Gradually train the vine to grow on or over the structure as desired. This year I am going to order a male and female Arctic Kiwi that will be planted at each end of the fencing in front of my raised garden in front of the grape and blueberry vines. There are two grape vines and one blueberry, the latter being planted between them. Blueberry requires acidic soil and it is slow to get started, more starting time required of grapes or even asparagus. I am tempted to replace the blueberry and transplant it somewhere else with another grape plant this season.

The Kiwi plant not only produces delicious fruit but beautiful flowers. A male and female plant in close proximity provides the fruit, and the male plant producing the most abundant flowers.

The other vine I have is growing up my satellite dish pole, providing some beauty for a practical outdoor fixture. The vine is a thorned rose, which was not pleasant for the satellite installer when I upgraded to a Generation 4 satellite system. I may cut it back and then transplant it to another location, like under an old pine tree whose branches are cut high and allow it to climb on it and then replace it with a thornless flowering vine, like the Trumpet Vine. The Trumpet Vine will attract hummingbirds, along with the Butterfly Bush planted nearby. It also attracts butterflies. Last year I had just about every species of butterfly in the state of Wisconsin around that bush. It also attracted hummingbirds.

Do not let vines grow tangled. They should be pruned frequently all summer, spreading and tying shoots to keep in single layers. Keep the plants mulched. Planting deeper than grown in the nursery will develop a strong root system and frequent watering will promote vigorous plant and flower growth.

Bareroot Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges

hand_point2– Soak roots for one to four hours before planting.

hand_point2– Dig hole larger than the root ball, a few inches beyond root tips and sides of holes. Built a mound of soil in the bottom center of hole so roots spread naturally, as explained previously for bareroot plants.

hand_point2– Position the plant and spread loose humus soil or Miracle Grow planting soil, pack, and then add natural soil from the hole. Most trees and shrubs are packed with the soil they originated from, and in my opinion, makes for the best transplanting success. However, when ordering from plant distributors, sometimes trees come bareroot. With proper planting and care they will take well.

hand_point2– Always work soil around roots to prevent air pockets, as soil is added into the hole to fill, pack well with hands. Water when hole is half-full and continue to add soil and pack.

hand_point2– You may want to insert a fertilizer stick or capsule into the soil at the base of the trunk, but not necessary if you used Miracle Grow planting soil. Monitor the pH in the soil and use a test kit to see if fertilizer is required in two or three weeks. Water regularly, as with all newly planted flora.

hand_point2– The lower part of the trunk should be wrapped with heavy paper or tree wrap, which will protect the tree from sun scald and rodents. Further protection from rodents and small animals is a screen formed into a wire cylinder to protect it.


boyhackPlant roses like the trees and shrubs described above, and:

hand_point2– In cold regions make sure the bud union [bulge at junction between roots and upper trunk stem] is 2” below ground level, preferably the 2” being heavy mulching.

hand_point2– Newly planted roses are vulnerable to heat and dry weather. Keep them mulched and watered. When watering, always water at the base of the plant and not the whole plant and do the watering either early evening or early morning to prevent certain diseases; the sun will evaporate water on leaves when rainfall naturally wets the whole plant.

Successful Garden Tips and Recap

hand_point2– When planting water well and work air pockets from the roots. Water early in the day for several days after planting; early in the morning allows the midday sun to evaporate water naturally. Supplement natural rainfall when it is less than 1-inch per week. Most plants that are transplanted, newly planted, die because they are not watered properly. It is especially important for vegetable plants that they are watered at the base, like tomato and pepper plants. Keep watering regular until fall because plants need water stored for winter and helps them survive winter weather.

hand_point2– Prune to keep plants healthy and promote flowering and/or fruiting, especially tomato and pepper plants. Trim out dead, damaged, or weak shoots. Prune with sharp tools so as not to tear where pruning is performed. Cut back ugly stems by half and at a 45° angle, just above strong shoots and buds. Prune in spring for established plants, after spring bloom. Plants that are pruned are fuller and bloom better – vegetables and fruit trees produce more harvesting. Ground plants thicken when pruned, as well as flower more when cut half-way back in the spring.

hand_point2– Protect plants with organic mulch, like straw, several layers of newspaper [I found shredding newspaper and then spreading it best], shredded bark, or peat moss. When I plant and each spring, I mix Miracle Grow with seasoned soil in place [most of my gardening is in raised beds] that has the proper amount of peat moss. Renew mulch as needed, most of the time mulching is done in spring and fall.

hand_point2– Never fertilize trees in August or September because you want them to go into dormancy for winter. Protect lower 18” to 24” of the tree trunk to avoid hungry rodents over the winter chewing on the bark.



If you decide to plant asparagus, you will soon discover why they are so pricey at the market; but the reward of fresh asparagus from a perennial plant is worth it – I believe.

hand_point2– Prepare a deep trench filled with compost and rich topsoil or Miracle Grow.

hand_point2– Plant bareroot asparagus 12” to 18” apart in the spring or fall.

hand_point2– As the plants grow continue to fill trench with rich soil until the trench is filled. Water thoroughly and keep watered as they grow.

hand_point2– Each spring apply proper fertilizer, 3-5 pounds per 100 square feet. After harvest is completed, fertilize again.

hand_point2– Cut tops back and mulch in late fall to prevent deep freeze.

hand_point2– Limit the first pruning/cutting is performed in middle of June and the same in the second year. In the second year, you can have a limited harvest, but many wait until the third year to have sweeter asparagus. A full crop is harvested in the third year when the spears are 6” to 10” tall. Harvest for 6-8 weeks or until 1 July in northern climates. When harvesting, cut or snap off spears at ground level to avoid injuring new growth. I prefer cutting with sharp shears to play it safe.

boyhackWolf Berry [Goji]

Wolfberry plants tolerate most soils, except wet and marshy types. The fruit best in well-drained soil. Space the plants 5-8 feet apart in the full sun or a partially shaded area. Heavy pruning will keep the plant looking good and promote fruit production. They will yield fruit after the second or third season and fruit will ripen sometime in July.

boyhackGrape Vines

Soil should be fertile and well-drained, and a site protected from wind, if possible, as well as late frost. Run vines east to west when growing in an orchard environment to prevent shading from trellis. Use compost, but do not over fertilize. Plants should be 8 feet apart in rows 10 feet apart. In the first year allow main stems to grow unpruned, and vines should be trained on trellis using support wire. Prune in early winter when dormant and before it gets too cold. Canes that bore fruit should be pruned back. Remove old canes from main stem and leave four new canes. New canes should be pruned back 6” to 8” and have 3 to 4 buds. These buds are joints that form shoots bearing the leaves and grapes for next season. Four new shoots will be used to repeat the same fruiting and pruning process the following winter.

List of Common Herbs

The following list is herbs I grow and recommend, but you may decide to add more. This year I am going to build planting boxes on the front porch of herbs so they are easily harvested for cooking through the season. The original herb raised bed is being transformed into an asparagus garden.


This is a stronger tasting herb of the Parsley family, used in the same way as the common Italian Parsley. It is an annual plant and grows to 3-feet tall, spreading from 12” to 15”. You can find Cilantro seeds at your local plant center or market.

BasilSweet Basil

A favorite kitchen herb is an annual, unless you have a greenhouse in colder climates. It grows 12” to 14” tall and spreads 12” to 18”.


These tall, common herbs grow up to 3-feet tall, spreading 12” to 15” and are annuals.


Growing from 18” to 30” tall, with a spread of 18” to 24”, this perennial grows in Zones 6-10 and in greenhouses all year in colder regions. Oregano is a companion plant for tomato and pepper plants that hinder attack from harmful insects.


This herb is not only a spice but also a homeopathic remedy and health promoter. It grows 12” to 24” tall and spreads from 12” to 18” – and is an annual.


Grows 12” to 24” with a 12” to 18” spread. A perennial that grows in Zones 3-9 making it hardy like onions.


Grows 3 to 5-feet tall and spreads 10” to 15” in Zones 5-9 [Perennial]



A fragrant herb used for sauces, it grows from 2 to 4 feet tall and spreads 24” to 36”. As a perennial, it grows in Zones 7-9 or a greenhouse in colder climates. It may survive winter with pruning and heavy mulching in the fall.


Favorite herb for sauces, it grows 18” to 24” tall and spreads 18” to 24”. As perennial, it grows in Zones 4-8.


This hardy herb is still greenish when the first snow falls. A tall plant growing 18” to 30” with an 18” to 24” spread, this perennial grows in Zones 4-8.


Grows 8” to 10” tall and spreads 18” to 24”, a perennial, that grows best in Zones 5-10.


Grows 8” to 10”, spreads 12” to 18”, and is an annual.