Saturday, November 6, 2010

Green Daylily Foilage

Hello Daylily Friends,

When I have had the privilege to speak at dayliliy clubs I have received comments about the foilage around the pictures of my daylilies. I am often asked why my foilage is so green. I usually talk about the fertilizer that I like to use, or mention that I try to control insects, or give other helpful information. However, I have decided that I need to be more specific. So, I am going to go through the steps I follow to get my plants growing, particularly in the Greenhouse, and how the foilage becomes so green.

I now purchase my soil from a company not far from our house. I buy from "Wood-Tech, LLC" which is located at 6119 James Dupree Lane, Acworth, Georgia 30102. The type of soil that I buy is call "organic planting mix." The main ingredients in the mix are mushroom compost and pine bark. I like the mix because it is as "advertised." The soil readily receives moisture, and it also holds moisture so that the daylilies do not dry out. I am going to print what Wood-Tech itself prints on its webpage about its organic planting mix:

"ORGANIC PLANTING SOIL: A quality soil blend containing
premium top soil, "super fines," pine bark, and mushroom compost,
screened thru a 1/2" screen. This soil is rich in nutrients, and it
has been created specifically to combine excellent drainage with the
moisture retention for healthy plant growth. Ideal for flower and
shrub beds."

I am also pleased to say that I can fill up the bed of my truck with the soil, and the cost is only $40.00. This is a bargain. You have to consider that most any other soil will cost about $10.00 for a bag of soil. So, I could only get about 4 bags for $40.00. An entire truck load for $40.00 is a really good deal. I usually fill up my wheelbarrow about 2/3rds full; I'm showing a picture.

I should also say that Wood-Tech can be reached by phone at 770/975-3279.

I then add four (4) hand fulls of Epson Salt to my soil. This Epson Salt is actually a chemical called Magnesium Sulphate. I like this chemical added to the soil because it is the real ingredient that makes my foilage so green. There are "directions" as to how much Epson Salt should be used. These directions are good, but I probably use more than is suggested. However, my soil is very loose, and the water runs through the soil very well. So, I think that I need more Epson Salt than is suggested by product directions. I also add about a cup of Florikan 16-4-9. Florikan is a great fertilizer. I have had salesmen try to substitute other products, but in my opinion there is no adequate substitute on the market at this time.

Although I really like the Wood-Tech soil, I still think that it needs a little more in pine bark. My favorite product is produced by Fafard, and is called "aged pine bark." I use this to add to my soil. After I add the Epson Salt, and the Florikan fertilizer, I then add 1/2 of a bag of the aged pine bark. This really helps with water drainage. The only problem is that adding the aged pine bark requires that the soil be worked with a 10-prong fork to mix everything together. It is important to do a good work with this mixing of the soil.

The next step is to put the 3" peat pots into one-gallon pots. I plant 18 of the 3" peat pots into one tray. So, we normally pull several trays in a row to proceed through the process. I'm showing a few trays placed on a table where we work. You can also see that the daylilies have large roots growing through the peat pots. I try to move the peat pots into the one gallon pots without doing any damage to the roots.

With the peat pot put into the one gallon pot, I then, again, put a little Epson Salt around the top of the plant. I also then also put fertilizer around the top of the plant. The idea is that the Epson Salt and the Fertilizer will dissolve, and will filter through the pot, and be taken up by the roots. I would add that the fertilizer is a slow release product. It only releases when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher. I like to look at the daylilies after they are transplanted, and watch to see the plants turn more and more green. When the plants take up the Epson Salt I also know that they are likewise absorbing the fertilizer.

So, that is how I prepare my seedlings to go through the winter in the Greenhouse. The green foilage is just a benefit of the process.

That is all for today from Kennesaw Mountain Daylily Gardens.


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