Are tree roots growing into some of your plants under the tree? Find a good sized pot, be sure it has drainage holes, and plant in it under the tree. The pot will keep the tree roots from growing into your plant.  A good soil and compost mixture will feed your plant.  Plastic pot will be easier to work with and you can lift them without bothering the plant and leaving the space available for a new plant without tree roots.

          In several catalogs I found seeds formed into little clay balls that you toss to where you want several plants. These are supposed to work like pelleted seeds but easier to handle.  I have never tried this, but it sounds like things can be crowded it you throw out too many in a small space.

          There are cow pots made by a dairy farmer from his herds manure. They come in various sizes and seeds started in them, then later, pot and all are planted.  Rain releases the manure to feed the plants whose roots haven’t been bothered.  Gardeners are busy thinking up new things. The farmer doesn’t have to send the manure to the landfill, and the pot fertilizes the plant.

          One year I bought some cones that fit on top of a one liter pop bottle filled with water. To use, turn the bottle over and stick the cone in the pot, or by a tomato or such plant, and it waters slowly down a number of inches to the roots.  It does work but refilling the bottles take some time, but no water is wasted.

          One catalog had “scrubber gloves” to clean vegetables. The texture of the gloves is rough and will remove dirt without bruising your hands.

          The days are getting a little longer so it is time for an early light fertilization. I have noticed that the white flies have hatched out, and in the big south window are spider mites. I don’t like to fight white flies so I put plant and all outside to freeze after starting a new cutting from a small piece that I can see every inch. Or. the mites don’t like water, so if there are not too many, I put them in the shower, or put a systemic in the pot and water it in very well.

          Crocus, Daffodils, and some tulips are up in the warmer area and today (April 15, 2011) it is raining with a few dustings of snow. My Sungold tomatoes in the basement are fast growing, best tasting, small round, orange-yellow tomatoes that grow in clusters. I think they are the first ones that I usually can eat. This year I also have red “Fourth of July” which may beat them. These are small but larger than Sungold.

          The purple “Datura”, also known as Angels Trumpet, are about 3 inches high now. They need an early start as eventually they will be 5 to 6 feet tall with many “trumpets about 12 inches long and 4 inches across, mostly white, with a deep curly, dark purple edges.

          On March 14, 2011, the first of the Crocus were in bloom on the South side of the house, a small group of 5. When this happens I think of winter being over even if it isn’t!!! The Hellebores are blooming and of course the little low Henbit weed has been blooming for several weeks even under the snow. Some of the farmer’s fields will soon be purple as it tries to take over the countryside.  It is an improvement over a dirty snowbank!!!

          Last fall I turned my pots upside down to prevent them from filling with water to freeze and expand to break the pots. Now it is time to upright them and those big ceramic pots are not easy. Lots of soil will fall out giving me room to add compost and stir.  There are some bags now for rejuvenating left over soil so you don’t have to buy all new soil potting soil every year. What I have gotten has a very strong smell but it works! Sometimes I dump a number of pots in one pile, mix in an equal amount of compost, add some granular 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 fertilizer, and refill my pots for another season. You can add water to your entire pot by cutting a plastic pipe as tall as the pot, then drill holes along the side, and then “plant” it in the middle of the pot. When you fill the pipe with water, it will seep out the holes clear to the bottom, and you will have moist soil to the bottom of the container.

          The directions on my Artichoke seeds says the plants require so many hours of very cool weather in order to bloom, so now I carry them outside in my little red wagon to be outside on above 40 degrees F. days, then pull them into the garage at night.

          Later in the growing season, after a long, perhaps hot day, a slight rain has cooled and cleaned the air. You need a special place to sit. So think about creating a perfume garden. White flowers do not have the bright colors to attract pollination but they look and smell gorgeous when the moon is out.  In front, on a high trellis is a Moon Vine (Ipomea alba) whose huge flowers open at dark.  Its perfume begins at the same time. On one side of your chair put the tall flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris) with its long clusters of smaller blooms. Near your feet can be 18 inch Tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa). Inside one bloom can fill a room. I lay back in my lounge chair with Snoopy, a 20 pound Bichon on my lap, and we wait for all the blooms to open. There are at least a dozen more white perfumed plants for Nebraska and your secret garden. Copyright 2011