Saturday, September 27
September is the month for all of us to join together to take action against hunger.  10% of all sales will be donated to the Lowcountry Food Bank.  By shopping with us, you help contribute to this non profit that feeds hundreds of families in our local neighborhoods each day.


Tree 101
'Tis the Season

The weather is just about to break and you know what that means.  It's time to plant a tree!  You missed your window of opportunity in the spring, and summer heat was too daunting, now is the time to get your tree in the ground. But first, we should talk about what kind of tree you want to plant before we discuss how to plant it.

A few tree basics.  First, trees are either deciduous or evergreen.  Deciduous trees are the type that lose their leaves every fall and show just bare branches through winter and early spring.  Many flowering and fruit trees are deciduous, such as Crape Myrtles. Large deciduous trees are best used to shade your home and yard. These trees should be planted on the southeast, southwest and west side of your home to provide cooling shade in the summer and won't obstruct the low winter sun.  

Evergreens are trees that do not lose their leaves and are great for providing year long privacy and screening such as Leyland Cypress, Italian Cypress and Live Oaks.  Loquats are one example of an evergreen canopy tree that flowers and fruits, while many varieties of Magnolias retain their leaves all year and produce beautiful flowers.

Once you've decided what type of tree to buy, the next step is to determine your site conditions.  The designated site may be in the lawn, near a patio, along a street or sidewalk, in a garden, in sun or in a shaded spot. Soils may be clay, sandy, saline, compacted, wet or dry. Whatever the situation, you will need to determine if the site is suitable for growing a healthy tree.  Combine this information with what your reasons for planting a tree are, flowering, shade, privacy, fruit, windbreak or increased property values and this will help determine the tree for your needs.

Now that you are ready to dig, its important that BEFORE you dig, you have contacted the utility companies to determine if any power lines are buried in the area where you wish to plant.  This is easily done by dialing 811 or by contacting PUPS at www.sc1pups.org.  You will need to allow 72 hours for marking of the property.

Prepare the site by measuring how wide your tree's root ball is and mark a circle 3 times the diameter of the tree's rootball.  In clay soil, dig to a depth 2-4 inches shallower than the height of the rootball. In sandy soil, dig to a depth equal to the rootball. Leave the bottom of the hole firm and undisturbed.  To the excavated soil, add 25 percent, by volume, of a coarse organic amendment, such as sphagnum peat, compost or aged manure. Mix it well with the excavated soil; this becomes your backfill.

 

At the bottom of the hole, add cardboard or newspaper and let it come partially up the side of the hole.  This material is biodegradable and adds moisture retention to the soil.  Additionally, it will retain fertilizer to the area of the roots and as the paper decomposes it becomes food for worms, which are great for the soil.

 

Remove the plastic container from the tree and loosen the root ball.  Place the tree in the center of the hole and use the backfill from your hole to fill in around the tree until all the roots are covered.

 

Water with low pressure on the hose and let the water drip slowly over the covered rootball. An irrigation system may not apply the necessary amount of water to a newly planted tree and should not be relied on as the sole source of watering. The tree needs to be checked on a daily or every other day basis to determine watering needs. Soil that feels moist and holds together when squeezed doesn't need water. Overwatering drives air from the soil, causing root suffocation. Frequent, light watering promotes shallow root development and this is not a good thing.


 
Add a 3-4 inch layer of mulch and be diligent about caring for your tree.  Keep mowers and weed whackers away from the trunk of the tree and if possible keep grass away from the base of the tree until the tree's root system is established so there is no competition for water and nutrients.


 

Go plant a tree and you let us know how you did!



Vegetable Gardening 101
Cool Weather Crops

Ding, ding, ding!  Round two in the vegetable garden has quickly approached (where did summer go?) and it's time to refresh your soil and get those cool season veggies in the ground.   Yep, that's right, Southern gardening rocks because we get two, sometimes three, planting opportunities a year, which means homegrown, fresh veggies on your dinner table an extra few months!

 

Here in the Low Country we are in the Coastal region of South Carolina which means, due to our warmer weather, we have earlier planting times in the spring and later planting times in the fall than the rest of the state.  Because a vegetable needs either warm or cool weather, crops sort themselves into two distinct categories: cool season (for spring and fall) and warm season (for summer). Planting in the proper season is the first step to a bountiful garden. Cool weather crops begin planting in mid-August through October.  

 

In fall, there are two types of vegetables, hardy and semi-hardy.  Hardy vegetables tolerate hard frosts where temperatures dip around 25-28 degrees Fahrenheit.  A few of these vegetables include kale, spinach and collards and they all taste best when the temps are cooler. Semi-hardy vegetables can handle light frosts (temps around 29-32 degrees) and a few of these include beets, leafy greens for salads and cauliflower.  The first frost date in our area is around November 16-30 so this should give you an idea of exactly how long you can expect to harvest the more tender vegetables.

 

If you are new to vegetable gardening and fall is going to be your first crop, there are a few things you need to know before you create that perfect patch for your fall vegetables.  First, choose a site that receives six hours of sun all year long.  You'll need that amount of sun for those spring vegetables like peppers and tomatoes.  Fall crops tend to do well with a little less sun, especially because most fall plantings are leafy greens that don't particularly care for a blazing hot sun for long periods of time. 

 

Just like planting a tree, soil preparation is key to a successful garden.  Most of our backyards don't have perfect soil and vary from clay to sandy looms.  The key is to add lots of organic matter to the soil and turn it over or till it once to mix it in well and create a loose, healthy soil.  Organic material causes the soil to remain loose, oxygen rich, and hold more moisture, trace elements, and nutrients, helping to feed your plants for the long haul.

 

You will probably have to plant your fall crop in two stages.  One will be plants that need to go in the ground now, such as broccoli, kale, collards and cabbage.  The other will be most of your leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce that prefer cooler temperatures and should be planted in October.  Clemson Extension has an excellent planting guide that serves as great resource as to exactly when each vegetable should be planted.

 

Fall vegetable gardens don't need as much water as the summer ones because the temperatures are cooler.  Watering two or three times per week is usually enough and even less if Mother Nature lends a hand.  Add some fertilizer, a basic 10-10-10 will work.

 

If all this seems like way too much work or you don't have the space or time to take on a vegetable garden, consider growing vegetables in containers, hanging baskets or even window boxes.   You can even try planting in Palmetto Supreme Garden Soxxs.  

One of the beauties of fall vegetables is the interesting color of their leaves.  There is rainbow swiss chard that has reds, yellows and oranges, purple cauliflower, peacock red kale and green rosemary.  Add those to a container and you have not only a beautiful container but an edible one as well.

Palmetto Supreme Organic Compost
Amend!

You have heard us say many times, "You need to amend your soil before you plant," and for as many times as we've said it, we've gotten equally as many eye rolls from our customers.  C'mon, you know you've done it!  The soil is your plants home and there is an entire ecosystem at work beneath the surface that affects what we see above it.  We need to care for what is below the ground so that what we see above is beautiful, colorful, lush and long lasting.  We are going to keep beating that drum until everyone understands why amending your soil so important to the success of your gardens and the longevity of your plants.

 

One of our favorite products for easily adding organic matter  and microbial life to your soil is Palmetto Supreme Organic Compost.  Its an all-purpose soil amendment which also enhances moisture retention properties and greatly aids in plant growth and sustainability.

Why do we like it you ask.  Simple. Local (from Rock Hill, SC), organic (horse manure, saw dust, wood chips and hay and recently OMRI listed) and a family owned business (like us).

The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) supports organic integrity by providing organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling and processing.  When a company applies, OMRI reviews their products against the organic standards.  Acceptable products are then OMRI Listed.

Check it out and give it a try in your containers, vegetable gardens and landscape beds.  Ladies, the bags weigh just 20lbs and make it easy to transport while working in your yard, another reason we love it.
 

Contact
Hidden Ponds Nursery
4863 Highway 17 N (next to SeeWee Outpost)
Awendaw, SC
843-345-0019
www.hiddenpondsnursery.com
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5 Things to Do in Your Garden this Month

1.  Fertilize Palms

2. Fertilize Citrus trees, planted in the ground, one last time before March. 

3. Clean out all the summer annuals from your pots and window boxes and add fall flowers like pansies, violas, ornamental grasses and mums.

4. Create a planting design, keeping in mind site conditions like the amount of sunlight, what time of day the area receives sun, and soil type.  Bring in your design for help finding the right plants.

5. Vote for Hidden Ponds as your favorite garden center East of the Cooper.  Thanks for your support!