Gardening: Sometimes a weed can stop you in your tracks Lifestyles
Sometimes a weed looks so beautiful that you have to stop and take a photo. This was the case on Sunday when I met this royal factory in Molène.
Verbascum thapsus, commonly known as mullein, is widely regarded as a weed, but also has medicinal properties. This plant is a biennial plant, growing a base of lush foliage in the first year of its life. Second year, the base grows back, as does a 5 to 10 foot flower stem.
That’s it people, it’s done. It leaves behind seeds that can be viable in the soil for hundreds of years. Mullein seeds should be on the soil surface and need light to germinate. Mullein herds are found in areas where the soil has been recently tilled and the seeds have been brought to the surface. They thrive in neglected areas, like behind this air conditioning unit in my photo.
There are many cultivars of Verbascum for the garden, if only “Southern Charm” was hardy here! So, is mullein a weed? Only the gardener can decide!
Acclimatize annual transplants
Soon it will be time to start acclimating your vegetarian and annual plants to the great outdoors.
The terms acclimatization, toning or hardening – all describe the conditioning process of the grafts that you have grown yourself in the garden… Successfully!
Toning is a time of transition for the plant from its warm and cozy nursery to the brutal exterior. How long does it take? Depending on your outdoor conditions and the condition of your plants, about three to seven days. Fewer days are needed if the weather is warm and later in May.
Wind is the biggest troubling factor for your new factories. You may be able to reduce some of the wind by using metal boxes around your plants as protectors or something similar.
Even the shadow is a more intense light than your fluorescents. Direct sunlight can quickly burn tissue in young plants in a very short period of time. Transplant on a cloudy day or late in the day if sunny.
If the plants were grown in a glass greenhouse, they will already be accustomed to real sun. Normally, a greenhouse or an area of houseplants is very humid. This can be another big climate change – drying winds.
Soil temperature is an often overlooked factor in a successful transition. For hot vegetables: tomatoes, peppers and vines, the soil temperature should be close to 70 degrees. Here in climate zone 4, that is, from mid-May to the end of May. No matter how carefully you protect the top growth, the roots are essential. Cold soil can slow growth and the plant can easily weaken and become more vulnerable to disease, disorder and death. I use a food thermometer (designed for the garden) to test the temperature of the soil.
The air temperature at night should be above 50 degrees for plants in hot weather. Even though they can survive just above the freezing point, repeated nights of colder temperatures will only stress the plants. Have a plan and system to cover plants from frost damage.
Seeds can be planted whenever the soil has warmed up. The seeds can think for themselves, and they won’t germinate until the conditions are right for them – moisture, heat and light, or lack of light. It is no coincidence that all amaranth grows on the same day… There is no way it is a weed!
Seeds planted too early can rot if the soil is cold and wet. Check the germination time on your packages, expect them to emerge around May 15th for hot weather crops.
For more information on invasive weeds in Minnesota, check out this link for MN MRN.
Visit us at the Mankato Farmers Market! We are located in the Best Buy parking lot on Adams Street. Stop and shop for locally grown plants, honey, syrup, soaps, textiles, baked goods, crafts, woodworking, pies, hot coffee, jams, meats and local eggs.
Our Saturday schedule is 8 a.m. to noon. We’ll also be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – both at Best Buy starting in June. On Saturdays we will have a “take and make” project for the children during their last visit to the market trailer.
You can follow my Facebook page on Market Bakery. To respect everyone’s health and ensure the market can stay open, follow these steps if you plan to make purchases.
• Stay home if you are sick
• Send only one healthy family member to shop
• Keep a distance of 6 feet from others
• Make a list to speed up your shopping
• Wash your hands often, stations will be installed
• No food consumption on site
• Buy with your eyes, sellers will handle the items