Growing AK: Mid-season maintenance
Though it's still early in the gardening season, by now, most of the plants are in the ground and have spouted. What do you do now?
Mark Oathout with Mid Valley Greenhouse in Wasilla says now is the time for maintenance.
For many, the garden will need to be fertilized but that varies greatly from garden to garden.
"It really depends on how we’ve set our media up, what we’re growing in," says Oathout. He indicates a raised garden bed. "I set it up with composted black dirt. I used some organic fertilizers on top of that make it a general use and I give it plain water because everything’s in the soil that I need. If you’re growing in a container, we like what they call continuous feed fertilizers, and it’s because the roots can’t reach way out like they can in the garden. We need to feed them daily, every time we water."
Because fertilization is so individualized depending on how you started your plants, Oathout says finding a professional is a good start and will save you time on the internet. "It’s daunting to go online and find real, technical information that you’re looking for or even general basic information. It’s very difficult sometimes, says Oathout. "There’s a big support system right within the state here."
Now is also the time to thin out--if you haven't already--the seedlings so they aren't growing too close together.
And, yes, the weeding is important.
"Weeds suck up nutrients and water and probably more than nutrients, the water," says Oathout. "Weeds have to come out of there."
Another way to control the weeds after you've done an initial weeding, is mulching. "Mulch" can come in many forms--wood chips, leaves, straw, even grass clippings. Mulching does several things. According to Master Gardener Dohnn Wood says, "It holds the moisture in at the surface, it keeps the surface just a little warmer when the wind blows across it, and most importantly, it keeps weeds from spouting because they don't get any light."
Mark Oathout also produces videos to help gardeners find more success in their gardens.