DIG IT! Berries and Fertilizers
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
May 7, 2012
Flora's friend Herb has raspberry bushes that he is willing to part with, so this weekend the great raspberry caper will occur. Herb doesn't know it yet, but Flora will also bring along some trash cans and hope to come home with some of that lovely composted manure from Herb's barnlot. It's the time of year to be outside and it doesn't matter if we are shoveling manure or digging berry bushes, it is exhilarating!
I need to divide some of my day lilies, plus would like to know what iris varieties do well here. Where can I meet other gardeners and discuss these topics?
Signed, Hunt Forinfo
The Garden Club meets the third Tuesday in the month, so the next meeting will be May 15. We get together at the Sublette County Weed & Pest Office at 12 South Bench Road, Pinedale (307-367-4728). Social time starts at 4:30 P.M., followed by a short business session at 5:00 P.M. To find out more about the Garden Club, go to our website at www.sageandsnow.org.
Can strawberries be grown in Sublette County?
Signed, Ozark Beauty
Some gardeners have successfully grown the everbearing cultivar, Ft. Laramie, in local gardens. Strawberries enjoy a slightly acidic soil, so a good fertilizer for strawberries is cottonseed meal, which adds acid to the soil. Strawberries can be mulched with pine needles, which also add acid to our alkaline soils.
I love berry bushes! What kinds can I grow here? Which ones are good for attracting wildlife?
Signed, Barry Intrigued
When it comes to growing berries in Pinedale, there are a number of options. You can grow native berry plants such as Oregon grapes, gooseberries, currants, or chokecherries. All of these berries do pretty well in the area, given proper light and location. If you are looking for a good dual purpose berry, I prefer cotoneasters. They are very hardy, can be trained to form a natural fenceline, provide a dense barrier for security purposes, and birds really enjoy the berries! As for attracting wildlife, there isn't much of a concern when planting berries as most gardeners in Pinedale have a harder time keeping the wildlife away from their plants!
I am hoping for a spectacular garden this year and was looking at the different fertilizers in the store last week. There are different numbers on the fertilizers and I don't know what they mean. Do you know?
Signed, No Previous Knowledge
The numbers on the fertilizers are referencing the ratio of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K) levels in that specific fertilizer. These three basic elements are the most limiting factors for plant growth and production. The numbers are always presented in that order on the label and it is referred to as the NPK ratio.
Ensuring that you have the correct fertilizer is also important. To do this, you will need to test your soils and determine what elements are the least common in your soil. Then you can research the plants you want to fertilize and determine what ratios will be best suited for your area. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, the Master Gardener's course is a great tool for the community to learn more specifics about these types of topics.
Are there plant-based fertilizers that can be used in vegetable and flower gardens?
Signed, Daisy May
According to the horticulturist at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, alfalfa pellets or alfalfa meal is a great organic-based plant fertilizer that can be used on both vegetable and flower gardens. Alfalfa is high in nitrogen. Vegetable and flower beds need 2 to 5 pounds of alfalfa for every square foot. The alfalfa should be dug into the top 6 inches of soil before planting. May is a good time to prepare the soil for gardening. Alfalfa meal/pellets are available at local feed stores.