All my trees came in and have been potted! I have officially started my micro “orchard” lol. Urban gardening at it’s finest. Oh what an undertaking it was since i’m a newbie. It sounds simple enough, fill some pots with soil and plant the trees…but it took a little more than that. I had to figure out what type of soil to use, what soil amendments to add, which fertilizer each plant needs etc…At the end there were a few basic principles that stood out, so I’ll be dropping some knowledge on you :p
So, first things first, the trees and shrubs have been in a dark box for a couple days. Very carefully remove them, place them in the shade and water them well. Let them stretch out basically, imagine being on a plane for a long time. Keep them in the shade for a couple days and let them acclimate to your local weather. After…plant them in the ground or like me in containers!
Note: Make sure to inspect them as well as soon as you get them, if there is any major damage, like I had to the lemon tree & blueberry, make sure to call them right away and they will send you another.
Since I’m planting in containers I would need potting soil. This is different than regular dirt, so make sure you pay attention. Potting soil is made for containers. The most important thing when planting in a container is the soil. Think about it, it is very limited space for the roots to grow and for the tree itself to have enough nutrients. So, you want to make sure to have the best possible soil available for it.
I wanted some Organic soil of course, and in my research I came across Dr. Earth. Even better, they were available at my local Home Depot. They don’t use manure in their soil, which I loved, and it is full of good bacteria which is very beneficial to the plant. Also, it has a mix of peat moss & perlite (those white round balls you see in potted plants sometimes, I used to think they were styrofoam, they are not). They help with keep the soil nice and fluffy, and is great for draining well. Soil that stays water logged will eventually cause roots to rot, and no one wants that.
I used Dr. Earth all purpose potting soil for all my plants and veggies this year. I just made changes mainly with the fertilizer depending on what I’m planting.
PLANTING CITRUS TREES
I got a Meyer Lemon tree & two Clementines (because I accidentally ordered an extra one and did not notice the quantity of 2 when I hit submit lol). I tried finding citrus potting soil locally, it was sold out slash not available. Retrospectively, I should’ve ordered some online or something, because truth be told, I had no freaking clue what I was doing with these. I still have my fingers crossed that I did it right. So, citrus likes sandy well draining soil. Add sand that is too fine, and it actually clumps up and does the opposite hurting the plant. I mixed potting soil, with sand, and with a special citrus fertilizer from Jobe’s.
I planted them, said a little prayer, added some sticks to hold the branches up straight, and so far so good, I think. Watering them is tricky. You are supposed to water them around once a week only and a nice thorough watering. The bigger lemon pot has been easier to gauge, I think the smaller clementine pots are harder because they dry out easier, so I think I’m going to switch them to slightly bigger pots so I can control the moisture levels better. Thoughts? Please chime in if you have an experience at all…my nerves will thank you when I don’t obliterate my trees from doing the wrong thing. :p
Oh and obviously, since I live in Michigan these must be brought indoors as soon as lowest temps start hitting 50 degrees F. I’m going to try heating the garage and adding some lights, I don’t like plants in the house because well, I hate bugs in the house.
POTTING BLUEBERRY BUSHES
Blueberries do better when multiple varieties can pollinate each other. I needed some varieties that do well in containers. I will be planting them in the ground next year. I got a Top Hat (on the left) blueberry & a Spartan blueberry (on the right). The Top Hat is more compact and grows to a max of 2 feet.
Blueberries love acidic soil. So I used a soil acidifier from Espoma.
Btw, my first Top Hat that came in was damaged, and they replaced it right away.
PLANTING BARE ROOT STRAWBERRIES
In all honesty, when I first ordered the strawberries, I had no idea they were bare root or what that even means. All I saw was a small bundle of weed looking muddy clump, then I realized, these were my strawberries! I did some quick youtubing and found out how to plant them.
First soak them in water for 20 min. Prepare the soil in the mean time. Make sure to plant them below the crown only. The crown is the part between the buds on top and the roots. The crown should NOT be buried.
The strawberry plants I got are Everbearing (vs. June bearing). June bearing strawberries produce one main crop in the month of June, while Everbearing strawberries produce all summer until the first frost. I was surprised how quickly my strawberry plants grew and set out flowers.
You want to pinch off the flowers until early July if you have Everbearing strawberries, and if you have June bearing, you have to remove the flowers the entire first year. This ensures the roots get established well, and you have a strong plant, ensuring better and bigger strawberries in the up-coming years. Even though it’s tough to swallow, it will pay off. Lucky for me, I have Everbearing, and you can get a harvest from them the first year!
Also for my strawberries, I used a tower of sorts, I don’t have space to go horizontally, so vertically seemed the next best thing. Plus this should help protect it from animals & pests. We will see how the do 🙂 Make sure to water them well, but not always keep them soaking. Also, try not to get the water on the leaves, as that will eventually cause a mold problem.
So, there you have it, my line up! My micro orchard makes me smile. 🙂 Sam is so sick of hearing about it, but now that all the initial work was put in, and believe me it was alot of work, I can now enjoy them and take care of them. Next up are my veggies, and I am planting them mostly from seed (except for the tomatoes since I am so late in the season. So, look out for that post soon!
I’d love to hear what you’re planting or growing. Let me know in the comments or tag me on IG and show me! 😀