Over the years, I have turned lawn into flower gardens. And, as I tell my friends, I have learned how to nurture various perennials and annuals from my many mistakes; in other words, what not to do. Today, in an effort to team with Mother Nature, I thought I would beat the rain that is supposed to be moving in tomorrow for most of the day and fertilize the lilies, phlox, roses, cone flowers, bee balm and annuals. I have used the Miracle Grow fertilizer feeder: you cut the plastic bag open and put in your feeder, attach the hose, turn on the water and you are set to go. Upon my last visit to my True Value Hardware store, where if they don’t see me every day do wellness checks via phone calls, the Miracle Grow came already loaded in a new feeder with a zillion adjustments one can make when using it. After grumbling a bit as I already had a perfectly good feeder dispenser and felt competent enough to place my own fertilizer in it, I paid for the new and improved fertilizer dispenser and away I went. I dropped my old dispenser at my daughter’s house to use there as I water her flowers as her job keeps her on the road.
I would say I have been using the new and improved fertilizer feeder for over a month. Today I took a close look at it as I could not tell if it the fertilizer supply was getting low due to the tint of the plastic feeder dispenser. The font on the dispenser was a minus ten in size so I proceeded to fertilize all of the gardens before hunting up a magnifying glass to take a closer look. Having finished with the gardens, I turned off the water, unscrewed the lid to the dispenser and took a peek. A piece of plastic still tightly in place covered the top of the dispenser. Not a grain of fertilizer had left the dispenser to mix with the water during my weekly fertilizing sessions.
By now you might be thinking that I did not need to fertilize the gardens if they are doing well. That is part of the answer but it also true that we have had a monsoon summer with hot temperatures and much rain. However, my annuals have struggled and the bee balm, cone flowers and dahlias have labored to gain height. These flowers thrive on applications of water infused fertilizer once a week.
I know there is a simple lesson or two behind my latest gardening fiasco. Read the fine print, stay with the old dispenser and run all over town to find refill packets, or call it a day and skip the fertilizing session altogether all of which I contemplated. But then the high humidity and cloudy skies reminded me of the rain to come. So, I tore the plastic seal from the dispenser cover, hooked up the hose and bestowed a long drink of fertilized-infused water to the gardens I had already watered.
I used to tell my students teachers that if what you are doing does not work, just try another way. I thought about that advice out there in my hot, humid gardens this morning. Sometimes the answer is simply do it over again with a tweak like removing the plastic wrap.