Valley Gardening: ‘Tracing’ minerals


Life is good in the neighborhood! I think it is finally spring, and you can start planting some of your seeds and plants. In fact, I just got off the phone with my Onion Company, and if the stars are aligned, I will receive my onion plants NEXT week! Talk about being excited. I’m not going to bore you with why I like plants over onion sets, because I’ve bored you before with that story. If you don’t remember (like I don’t) come on by and talk to me. Plus, I ordered six cases of different types of onions, so I need you to come in and buy some!

Also, I will be receiving some bedding plants this Wednesday. I start out with some of the toughest cold crops—like cabbages, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and maybe even some carrots and radishes, although they do well planted from seed. Also, I get in the beginning groups of annual flowers because many folks want to get their patio pots and hanging baskets planted up. I want to do the same. It seems like this time of year, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

Lucky for me, a guy named Peter came by and wanted to work—I mean, actually wanted to work! He helped me at our duplex around the corner from the store. The best thing he did was cut down the elm trees. You know… the ones that are a one-foot seedling one year, and a couple of years later, they are 10 feet tall! Peter cut them down and I am getting ready to pour Brush Killer/Stump Killer on them—that’s the way to really kill them. The active ingredient is Triclopyr which is a short residual Systemic.  You want to pour it in a fresh cut so the plant you are trying to kill really sucks it up.

I did tell you last week that I would go into trace minerals so here we go. Boron (B) stimulates cell division, flower formation and pollination. Calcium (Ca) raises soil pH, promotes root fair formation and early growth—(the following was written on Good Friday) and no Jerry Reed, Ca will NOT help grow hair on your head. Speaking of Jerry—he has had surgery and is recuperating at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. Actually, Jerry is in a fight for his life! And…now I have heard that Mr. Reed has passed away. Talk about a beloved man! The overwhelming support Jerry received on Facebook is just amazing…it speaks so highly of Mr. Reed, and also of our community. I guess we will have to have a conversation without you, Jerry—while we enjoy our cinnamon roll at the Campus Café. We will laugh, and cry and then laugh some more. What an inspiration you have been to so MANY people!

The moral of the story folks, is live every day to its fullest. None of us know when and how the end will come. My motto is ‘give ‘em ______ every day, because if I get hit by a truck tonight, I want to believe that I have made a difference’!

Back to minerals. Calcium is huge when it comes to blossom end rot on tomatoes, peppers and even zucchini/squash. Chlorine (Cl) is needed for photosynthesis, stimulates root growth and aids water regulation. I just can’t believe the chlorine in the Alamosa city water is good for plants so I need to research that kind of chlorine, I guess. Cobalt (Co) improves growth, water regulation and photosynthesis. Copper (Cu) stimulates stem development and pigment formation. Are you brain dead yet—I am. Will list a few more next week.

I had a customer in this week who was trying to revive his newly sodded (from last fall) lawn. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the soil preparation under the sod was ALL wrong and soil IS the key to all success. He was told, by one of my competitors, to layer 2” of ‘topsoil’ over his existing soil and then just lay the sod on top of that. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! I don’t have enough room to delve into soils right now, but let me just say…if you take shortcuts with your soil, you will have problems forever. It doesn’t matter whether it is potted plants, or lawns or flower beds, or whatever—do the best you can with your soil. A couple of years ago a customer showed me the topsoil he had just purchased—unbelievable! I don’t know that my cats would have used this soil for you know what. Please believe me, soil is the foundation of anything you are going to do!

I sincerely hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. Hug your family, hug your friends and get out and do some gardening!

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