Planting Herbaceous

dsreAs our herbaceous peonies enter their grand finale for 2013, we have already begun to plan our fall peony planting at Cricket Hill Garden. Peonies are very long-lived and relatively carefree provided that they are given a good start. Planting healthy stock is of course vital, but equally important is to amend the peony planting area so that the peony will thrive there. Basically, this entails adjusting the soil’s pH to the proper level and adding adequate organic material to deficient soils so that the peony will be provided with long-term nourishment. A little work now will pay you back with years of beautiful flowers. See our youtube video on this preparing a new peony planting area.

The following is a deluxe method for amending unimproved, poor native soil

if you are creating a new planting area.

We add 2 lbs each of the following soil-building amendments to our planting site sized 3′ x3′:

  • Hi-Cal (Calcitic) Lime- For calcium, this also raises the pH of the soil, 6.5-7.0 is ideal for peony growing.
  • Colloidal Phosphate- For short-term calcium boost and slow-release phosphorus, very important for bloom production.
  • Greensand- For improving soil texture and adding potassium.

We add 1 lb. each of the amendments listed below for building high levels of humus:

  • Bone char
  • These amendments can be found through suppliers like Espoma and Dr. Earth which package for the home gardener, sold online or locally at well stocked garden centers.

Rather than rotor-till a new planting area, we like to smother the grass and unwanted plants. By not disturbing the soil, we leave the complex web of beneficial bacteria and fungi intact.

Allow the soil amendments, compost and mulch to sit over the next few months. In the fall, when you are ready to plant, pull back the mulch and compost from the center of the pile and plant your peony there. All of the good compost and mulch will nourish the peony and get it off to a great start.

When planting garden bed, make sure that the soil is deep enough to accommodate a peonies extensive root system. Don't worry if the soil is rocky, just don't' plan on planting in an area with only a few inches of soil above boulder or rocky ledge. In New England, our soils tend to be sandy and rocky, as well as low in calcium and phosphorus. In our area the native soil's pH is around 5.00, much too low for successful peony cultivation. Poor soils can be amended to improve fertility. Its always a good idea to have your soil tested so that you know your soil's baseline mineral and fertility levels. The following list of amendments suited for poor to average soils. Add these soil ammendments to your planting site and you will grow amazing peonies. Mix all of your amendments together and spread them over a 3' x 3' area.
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Well, yes, but...

2010-12-16 07:15:51 by QuercusSchmercus

…who really starts trees and shrubs from seeds? Not that that's a bad idea, i just think that, for most people, starting from seed usually involves herbaceous plants.
There's nothing wrong with dormant seeding species that benefit from a cold period, but seed generally germinates best when it is in firm contact with soil. Some seeds do best when covered with a bit of soil (OP's Poppy is an exception). If one wants to go this route, planting before the ground freezes is a good idea.
Tossing seeds on frozen ground may or may not work out well. Freeze/thaw cycles may incorporate the seed, but one can expect that some percentage of the seed will not germinate

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Shallow rooted annual and perennial herbaceous plants can be planted closer to the drain fields since they do not have invasive roots. Turfgrass can be grown over the drain field and is beneficial since it helps hold the soil in place.

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