If the sad place in your mind is littered with failed gardening/growing experiences, here’s some consolation: Micah Puncochar — founder of local landscaping and organic lawn care company Maples & Bloom — says you might not be an idiot.
“Sometimes people struggle to grow things because (big box) stores sell things that really are not appropriate for Tennessee,” he says. “So maybe it's not you?”
As it happens, even Puncochar — a full-time grower of things who was trained early as a veggie grower by his mom, then later spent time cultivating Paraguayan land in the Peace Corps and built a home on a fruit orchard — has his black-thumbed moments.
“I admit to not having a lot of confidence in indoor plants,” he says. “I’m not so good at keeping those alive and healthy.”
Please join us, gardening-fail brethren, in a hearty, misery-loves-company “YAY!”
As comforting as that is, though, we figure it can’t hurt to get a little help from a growing pro as we move into late summer/early fall, actually a really important growing/maintenance time, according to Puncochar. Wanna get through the winter without a George R.R. Martin-style deluge of death? Check out Puncochar’s tips:
END-OF-SUMMER GARDENING AND GROWING ADVICE FROM MAPLES & BLOOM’S MICAH PUNCOCHAR
First things first:
Water! Early a.m. is preferable, because watering at night can encourage fungal diseases. But if you only remember to water at night, that is preferable over never watering. Make a note of what worked this year and what didn't.
Key things to do through the end of summer/leading into fall for the landscaping you already have:
For lawns: aerate and overseed.
For landscapes: Fertilize with an organic, all-purpose fertilizer — All Seasons, owned by East Nashville people, has some great options, as does Worm’s Way (in East Nashville).
Prune hydrangea blooms back. Keep perennial flower heads on for our feathered friends.
Mulch if it needs it. This maintains soil moisture and keeps soil temperatures more moderate through winter.
A Maples & Bloom landscaping makeover on Forrest Ave.
Good things to plant now/in the fall:
Grass is best in the fall. And actually, the bigger something is (trees, shrubs), the more appropriate it is to plant in fall, because the plant can actually spend its energy establishing roots opposed to roots, flowers, new branches, etc. This is my favorite time to plant large trees (up to 25 feet tall) in people's yards. It really gives some immediate feeling of maturity to the landscape.
Need any more advice or help from Maples & Bloom? Drop by the Maples & Bloom website, join their mailing list or drop a line at 615-440-1551.