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Mistakes When Planting or Transplanting

By James Ellison

Planting for the spring and summer can be very exciting; however, we can plant too early. Remember those beautiful warm March or April days when we are tempted to go out and start our gardens? Why not, the stores already have the plants for us to transplant so it must be time. Early planting can lead to money out of your pocket.

Even if we plant the seeds like corn and beans too early they will go bad before they have a chance to germinate. The seedlings may be hit by a last frost or low night temperatures. Gardening takes a lot of work but also a lot of luck.

We can not hurry spring ... mother nature sees to that.

Know what plants will take some cool weather and what plants won't take cool weather. In the vegetable family, eggplants, melons and peppers need warmer temps to survive and grow. Plants like impatiens and begonias will not survive the cold.

Ideally wait till night temps are at least 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). We just can't rush spring.

We can plant too close to each other. If you are planting annuals then plant close but if you are planting permanent schrubs or trees don't plant too close. In the future years it will show in the health of the plant and the looks that they have grown too close.

Air circulation plays a vital factor in the health of a plant. If the plants are too close bad circulation will affect the plants and it will show. This will, especially, favor fungal diseases. Your plants don't deserve to get sick from our mistakes. Know your plant's height and width at maturity.

In vegetable gardening we all want the most out of our plants. You won't get that good production if you plant too close or too much. Keep the seedlings at recommended spacing and when putting transplants in keep their distance. Would you plant 1 tomato plant 1 foot from the other and expect to get a good crop that season, of course not.

Don't buy plants and let them set a long time before putting into the ground. Again we are tempted to buy on impulse plants that we take home and let set for weeks. They get dried out, stressed out and root-bound.

The most forgotten purchase of plants is bulbs, tubers and corms. Some need to go into the ground immediately, some can wait. Best to be safe then sorry--plant them. Your bulbs will not bloom if they don't have a chance to established their root system first.

The roots have to be taken care of properly also. If we have containers with root-bound plants in them we need to be careful not to break off the roots when transplanting. When planting, take the roots and untangle and straighten them as much as possible.

Some good tips for root-bound plants are:

+Circling roots of shrubs and trees. To advoid these types try buying a smaller plant in a larger pot.

+If the roots can't be straighten then score the rootball. The ends then will grow new roots and re-establish itself.

+Most smaller plants can have their roots straighten by just brushing the roots with your hand.

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