May 2020 Newsletter
What an incredible, unprecedented April it was. After not sure if we were going to be allowed to stay open or whether we would have any business with the looming pandemic and how we were going to pay off all those spring pre-orders, the sales have been off the charts. The demand for fruit and vegetables and soils has been the number one driver of sales. People who have never gardened before are planting fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Suppliers are having a hard time keeping up with demand. Vegetable starts are selling just up out of the pots! Every order of tomato starts is gone in a day or two. We sold out of marigolds and petunias days before we could get more. We are being limited to one flat of each variety available. We cannot get 1 cu. ft. soil or steer manure at this time. Our soil company is bagging it and putting it directly on the truck for delivery. Our regular seed company sold out and will not reopen until July with 2021 seeds. We in the nursery business have never seen anything like this before.
Speaking of seeds, I did put an order in with another company, but it was lost in a fax black hole, and it was delayed. I just ordered basic summer vegetable and flower seeds, and we are limiting it to one variety per person, please. They just arrived, so we do have some seeds. They said they were out of stock on some but would ship backorders when available.
May is a busy planting month. It is finally safe to finish planting your tomatoes, peppers, and squash. The soil should be warmed up enough to plant corn, beans, melons, basil, and cucumbers. Wait to plant your starts until you have a few true leaves, not just the first leaves called cotyledons. The first leaves are actually stored inside the seed itself, wow, and serve the purpose of getting energy for the true leaves to start growing. They soon turn yellow as the plant grows and do not resemble the true leaves at all. Still keep an eye on the weather as one Mother’s Day in Middletown history, the area was hit by a hard freeze. Time to protect your new tree trunks from the hot sun with tree wrap, lime slurry, or watered down indoor white latex paint. Until you have sufficient leaf canopy, the trunk is in jeopardy of being burned and cracked by the summer sun.
Plant summer-blooming bulbs, warm summer annuals like morning glories, sunflowers, and zinnias this month. Watch for aphids on roses. We are beginning to get them on the roses along with some powdery mildew due to the humidity. We do not water the roses late and just sprayed them with the bio-fungicide Serenade. For aphids, we hose them off and release ladybugs. We just received a fresh shipment of them. Fertilize with EB Stone Rose and Flower food after every flush of bloom. Speaking of fertilizing, if you have not fed your yard by now, it is time to do so. We recommend the EB Stone All Purpose 5-5-5 fertilizer available in 4, 15, and 30-pound bags. For grasses, both lawn and ornamental use the Natures Green Lawn food, which is higher in the nitrogen that grasses and bamboos need.
Monitor your apples and pears for coddling moth. If you want to keep their larvae to a minimum, spray neem when the fruit is dime, nickel and quarter size. Hanging two traps per tree is helpful too. We have peach borer traps too, and since I have lost two trees to them, I hang a trap in each tree. Prune and shape your spring-blooming shrubs like lilacs, quince, and forsythia now that they are finished blooming.
We have sold most of the fruit trees we received at bare root time, but some of our suppliers are growing them, and a few varieties will become available when they are rooted in the can. I ordered some liners of blueberries, some bare root strawberries, and some more cane berries. I told people the strawbs were ever-bearing, but when I checked my order, I saw they are a June baring type called Summersweet.
We are looking into a new pottery supplier and are waiting for the catalog. Our selection is thinning out, but we did just get in some smaller indoor plant size pots, including whites, which I am told is the trending color right now. We still have a Fiddleleaf Fig and Monstera plants for those on the lookout for these trending indoor plants. Large spinners arrived along with a huge rocking owl, and we are still waiting on the Rustic Arrow show order of colorful tin figures.
Summer blooming bulbs should be planted this month. We have some dahlias, although we have found they sell better for us as blooming specimens in containers. Elephant Ears are available now in bulbs to plant for the tropical look. Glads are another favorite, but we love the lilies. We have one of the 6ft growing ones available now along with the Stargazer types and Tiger Lily. Lesser-known varieties include Liatris, Crocosmia, and Chasmanthe. Love the multi-colored Calla Lilies? They are now available in bulbs. Summer bulbs are 20% off in May.
Mother’s Day is coming up, and we still have custom baskets, mixed containers, garden art, and roses beginning to bloom for the occasion.
- Last Month for Soil SpecialBuy 3 GreenAll 2 cu ft Organic Potting Soil, and 4th is Free
- Blooming Viburnum roseum Sterile AKA Snowball 20% Off
- Summer bulbs 20% Off
- Lantanas at $1.00 and $2.00 Off
Plant of the Month
Few plants handle the heat and bloom as long as Lantana. This tropical American deer-resistant native can survive the winters here in some of our county but best to treat as an annual. Lantana sellowiana, the trailing type, comes in limited straight colors of lavender and white. It is the most cold-hardy kind and is useful as a ground and bank cover. The Lantana hybrids that come from multi-colored Lantana camara come in a variety of sizes and colors. The flowers are usually multi-colored, often starting out one color and adding another one or two as the flower ages. Radiation, Irene, and Confetti are some of the larger growing ones, reaching 3-4 feet high in areas where they survive the winter. The newer hybrids are smaller, making them useful in containers and hanging baskets ranging from 1-2 feet tall. Lantanas do well in all day sun, but as long as they get half a day, they will thrive with moderate water and little care. Butterflies love them and hummers as well. Save a dollar on 4-inch pots and $2.00 on one-gallon pots in May.