Gardening in small spaces no problem

Distributed by Lisa Stewart, Webster County Director

Have you ever lamented the fact that you just don’t have enough ground space to garden like you want to? Well, don’t let that stop you. You can create a lush haven around your home with container gardens. Follow a few easy tips and you’ll be amazed at what a colorful, inviting setting you can create by simply arranging planted containers together. Want to grow a few vegetables? Not a problem using containers. Tip 1. Choose large containers. Select a container in scale for the setting or it will become lost in the overall design. Containers should be bold and dramatic and be plenty large enough to accommodate the plants or plants you choose. And always remember it’s usually better to err on the side of being too large than too small. Tip 2. Build a theme. Choose containers that complement your home’s color and architectural details since these containers are elements that link the house and garden. Tip 3. Create a cluster. Group several containers together and you can create more impact. Staggered height and size, groupings of containers in odd numbers, such as 3, 5 or 7 make pleasing arrangements. Tip 4. Develop a sense of unity. Repeat the texture, bloom shape and color of the plants throughout the display to unify the garden and crate a visual flow. The plants don’t have to be identical, but share similar qualities. Tip 5. Use layers to create depth. Build more visual appeal by elevating plants so they are displayed at different heights. By stacking container plants on risers or overturned pots you can create combinations that wouldn’t be possible if they were all planted in the ground. Using Pesticides Responsibly There are times when our lawns are attacked by insects, diseases, weeds or even small animals that cause enough damage that unless some control is taken these pests can drastically reduce or destroy the quality of the lawn. Therefore, pesticides are often the most effective and environmentally friendly method of control. Unfortunately, some of these pesticides are not needed or are for problems that these particular pesticides would not help. The following suggestions can help you in implementing sound management practices and determining if and when a pesticide is what your lawn needs. Is the damage actually being caused by a pest? Could it be the weather or a cultural practice, such as over- or under-watering, fertilizer or herbicide damage)? If it is a pest, what kind is it? Insect? Disease? Weed? Animal? Are there non-chemical ways to control it? Is the damage severe enough to warrant chemical control? Is pesticide use cost-effective, or would the chemical treatment cost more than the damage is worth? Can the pest be controlled by a chemical at this stage of its life cycle, or would application at a different time be more effective? Remember, just because you see insects does not mean that insects are a problem. Proper identification of the problem is essential before you select any type of control. There are many excellent resources available to help you identify pests or pest caused problems, including trained professionals at nurseries and garden centers, your local Extension office, and reference books dealing with lawn pests and diseases. Healthy turf is generally less susceptible to injury by pests, and good cultural practices can reduce pest outbreaks. The warm spring has allowed many populations to be farther along than normal. Plant bugs are normally a problem in late May and June, but reports are already coming in of damaging levels of plant bugs in strawberries and other crops. Look for these small (1/4-inch) bugs when the plants are not growing well and the leaves are mottled. Plant bugs can be brown or green and there is one bright yellow and black striped version, but it is rare in Mississippi. Many cool-season vegetables have flowered. When the plant is in its reproductive phase, the leaves will decline in quality rapidly. Potatoes will enlarge their tubers while the plant is flowering, but most other plants will devote their energy to making seeds rather than making something edible. You can leave the flowers as a source of food for bees, but the plant should be removed and replaced with a warm season one. Be sure to plant something other than tomatoes, peppers or eggplants following potatoes. Onion growers should remove the bulbs from the garden after the leaves fall over. Leaving the dying leaves attached to the bulb for long periods in wet weather can lead to neck rot. Onions should be cured out of direct light with good air movement before being stored in the dark. Curing allows the outer scales to dry and greatly increases storage time. If you have any questions, please call the Webster County Extension Office at 258-3971.