Archive for July, 2014

UPDATE to Summer Garden Tour

2014 CLUB PICNIC/GARDEN TOUR – Summer Picnic & Garden Tour – Saturday August 16th, 2014. We will meet @ 9:30am @ SOOS CREEK BOTANICAL GARDEN. Come and enjoy a 1-1/2 hour tour of this outstanding local garden. There will be about 20 of us taking the tour. If you are waffling about the tour, please read what docent coordinator Barbara Nagel says: 1) Our borders are usually cool and heavily shaded, even on a HOT day. 2) We have a great heritage center, so at any point, people can leave the tour and easily walk back inside to see antiques, old photos and maps of the Upper Soos Creek Plateau, where the Garden is located. 3) We walk slowly. Bring a bottle of water. We have had 90 year old folks do the whole tour! 4) Wear a hat. 5) We have many benches along the way! Gary will meet us to pick up the hot dishes and items that need refrigeration. Ronnie will bring some cold water for us all too.

After the tour, we will go to Ronnie and Sue’s house for a brief tour and then on to Gary’s to enjoy a picnic lunch entrée of chicken, burgers, and brats – AFTER a Mum tour at the Budzeak home. If you have not signed up, yet, just SHOW UP and bring the docent fee of $3.00 per person and give it to Mark. Checks are payable to ECA and should be sent to Mark Ross, Treasurer. Please call Steve Backstrom and let him know
if you are bring Salad, Desert, or a Hot Dish and how many people are coming with you @ two o six nine 7 two six one o 9

July 2014 Cultural Notes

JULY To Do List: DRS, 7-1-13

July and August are the primary growing months for your mums. Topics of our concern and guidance during this time are: Lateral selection and control, Staking, Feeding, Pest Management, watering, Flushing your pots, Top Dressing, and Taking the buds for the final bloom selection .

1 Lateral Control:
As side laterals develop after the final pinch, select the number of laterals to carry through the summer
And remove all other side shoots. Generally the topmost lateral below the stem break is removed, as it is the weakest lateral structurally and easily broken off by accident. At this stage you should carry 1-2 more laterals than you want at bloom stage. An old saying goes “I grow one for the bug and two for me”.
Surplus laterals are removed later using the following guide. The
-For #1 & #2 cultivars carry 2 or 3 laterals initially, cull tot back to 1 or 2 in late Aug. after buds are secured
– For #3 cultivars carry 5 laterals initially and cull back to 3 or 4 in Sept. or Oct.
-For #4 & #5 cultivars carry 4 or 5 initially and cull to 2 04 3 in Sept.
-For Eearlys (#13-15, and 23-25) Cary 4-5 laterals initially and cull back in Sept. as appropriate.
-For Spiders, quills, spoons, singles etc. Follow the guide for #4s & #5s.)
2. Staking:
All the saved laterals should now be individually staked to prevent losing them to wind, rain, accidents etc. You will need stakes ranging from 3’ to 5’ depending on the normal height of the individual plants, with the majority being in the 4’ range. I make wooden stakes nominally 5/8”x 1/2” ripped from ½” or 5/8” fence boards. Others use Bamboo stakes or whatever. You should point the stakes so that when you push them into the pots they don’t tear away large sections of the roots. The stakes look better and wont rot easily if you paint or stain them green. Don’t use Pressure treated lumber! Also 4’ and 5’ heavy bamboo stakes seem to work somewhat well.
Start fastening the laterals to the stakes with 4-6 inch twistems when laterals are 1-2 foot long, being careful not to spread the laterals too soon as you can easily break of the laterals if you spread them too early.
3. Feeding & Top dressing:
Keep feeding! Keep feeding! The club sells Technigro 20-9-20+ water-soluble fertilizer at our meetings @ $3.00 per 1# bag. This is the recommended fertilizer for mid season growing-July & August. While other fertilizers may be your choice this balanced fertilizer has been our staple since we started growing in soilless. Miracle grow is not recommended as it generally contains too much Nitrogen and tends to produce much taller stems at the expense of stronger roots. However it works well on some plants such as specimen plants where much stronger nitrogen dosage is used to produce the many laterals i.e. 11 to 20 laterals.
-After 3 weeks in the final pot start the summer feeding program with Technigro
20-9-20+. Standard dosage for all is 1 tsp per gallon of water, fed once a week. If you feed with every watering you should cut the dosage to half that or less. It is common to gradually increase the dosage up to double that for heavy feeders i.e. Connies, Dukes, Jessies, Ralph Lambert, Gigantics, Harry Gees, Elsie Prosser etc. On the other side, most reds and Purples and most incurves require a lighter feeding level such as 2/3 tsp per Gal. Keep in mind that it is very easy to overfeed so be prudent. Watch and feel the leaves to gage the fertilizer needs. If leaves tend to be hard and curl up or the upper leaves turn over you are feeding too much.
-Some plants may tend to be yellowish instead of green (Jessie Habgoods, Dukes, Lundys and Connies) for instance. If you have yellow plants first try drying the plant out with less water. If unsuccessful feed ½ to 1 tsp Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) per plant. Leaf feeding with liquid Iron products such as Sequesterine or chelated Liquid Iron will also help green up the plants. Also, you might need to add some lime to sweeten your mix. Try adding ½ tsp per pot of slacked/hydrated lime. Ph control should be addressed for all your plants. If you have general yellowing on new leaves or green mold on the pot or soil, it’s a sign of acidity. In general you could add ½ to 1 tsp slacked lime once a month until housing. In general a ph from 6.25 to 6.5 is desired. If you increase the ph too much on reds and purples the bloom color will be less bright.
– Continue this feeding program right up to the bud formation, then drop to approximately ½ tsp per gallon through most of the bloom formation. Heavy feeding during the early bud growth can seriously deform the buds.
-Water thoroughly when you water but don’t water until the plant needs water or feed. Jessies and Dukes generally require less water than most, so don’t water them just because you are walking by with the hose. On the other side, Gigantics and Pat Brophy need more frequent watering. In following your watering program, it is good to let your pots dry out a tad before rewatering as that tends to promote stronger roots. Note: I did not say you should let your pots dry out during the starting stages, nor during the bloom stage.

4. Flushing:
If you are growing in a straight Soilless mix such as M&R you should flush your pots every 4-6 weeks to get the excess salts out of you medium. If you are mixing compost or loam with your soilless the excess salts will be absorbed by the soil and flushing isn’t generally necessary. Never the less it’s a good idea to give your pots a good flushing once or twice. For flushing, fill the pot with clear water, let it drain, refill and drain twice more. After you have completed the flushing, there will be little feed left so it’s a good idea to add a new weeks supply of fertilizer.

5. Top Dressing:
Top dress the pots in late July or early August and again when the buds show color(around Sept 1 to 15). Spread 1 to 2 hands full of your final potting mix on each pot. This gives the upper roots a better growing environment.

6. Pest Management:
Continue to review your pest control program every 1-2 weeks. You need to keep the plants free of black aphids, other bugs and fungal diseases, especially before the blooms open. Aphids in the blooms are unsightly and can cause your bloom to be downgraded or disqualified by the judges.
. Marathon systemic insecticide is applied once per growing season to each pot at the rate of ½ tsp per pot to control aphids, (particularly black aphids). It is imperative that all members use Marathon as an outbreak of black aphids can destroy your whole crop and spread any virus you may have to many other plants. Some other insects such as leaf hoppers, leaf rollers, earwigs and Capsid bugs need to be picked off the plants or they will invariably ruin the bud. Earwigs are particularly dangerous, and a product called Seven when spread around the roots and or sprayed on the plant can be very effective in controlling them.

7. Disease Control:
For disease control, we need to spray regularly with a fungicide during the summer and Fall season. Fungal damage to the leaves will result in significant penalties by the judges.The plants you grow are fairly lush which makes them a great target for Fungi etc. I use Daconil exclusively. It’s the best I know. It covers Botrytus, Early blight, Rust, Late blight, Ring spot, Powdery mildew and other diseases that we typically associate with the heavily fertilized mums. It’s legal and available at some garden stores. I know that McLendon’s carries it. It’s also in demand by Rose and Bean growers. A word of caution: as advertised on the bottle, always use a good fine mesh Nasal filter with this and don’t expose yourself, others, or pets to this as it can be very harmful. In particular you don’t want to get any of this spray in your lungs. See detailed uses and precautions attached to the package. Spray with fungicides every 2-3 weeks, don’t wait until the fungus is visible. I always thoroughly spray my pots when I clean them for housing.

8. Taking the buds:
From mid July to late August the terminal buds will start to appear on your laterals, followed by a ring of smaller buds just below the main bud. It is necessary that the ring of smaller buds be removed, leaving only the single bud on each lateral. This process is termed “Taking the Bud”. You need to let the ring of smaller buds develop to near ¼ inch before attempting to remove them so as to prevent damaging the main stem and primary bud. To remove the buds simply push them sideways with your thumb and they will easily break off. Don’t pinch them off. At this time it’s a good idea to add the bloom support stick i.e a small 16” long stick, tied to the main stem and to the support stake. This support will keep the growing stem straight and the bloom sitting square on top.

As a note we will be changing our fertilizer mixture by adding more Potash after the bud is taken. The August newsletter will cover this in more detail.

Good Growing, Don

July 2014 Newsletter – Summer Growing Season

Seattle, Washington

Email us at: steve at ecamumclub dot org

Furney’s Nursery: Partners with ECA in Chrysanthemum Propagation and Exhibition


MEETING OF THE ECA – THURSDAY JULY 10, 2014 at 7 PM at the Seattle Police Athletic Association Office (SPAA) site at 11030 East Marginal Way South, Tukwila.
The Yearbook will be available at this meeting if you missed June meeting. A big thank you to Mark Ross for doing this big project! Please consider volunteering to do this next year. Yearbooks will be mailed for any not receiving by the July meeting. Please let Becky Cox or Mark Ross know if you need your Yearbook mailed.

2014 CLUB PICNIC/GARDEN TOUR – Summer Picnic & Garden Tour – Saturday August 16th, 2014. Tour starts 9:30am @ SOOS CREEK BOTANICAL GARDEN! Come and enjoy a 1-1/2 hour tour(Hint: start training now!!) of the outstanding local garden before enjoying a picnic lunch entrée of chicken, burgers, and brats after a Mum tour at the Budzeak home. We need to advise the Soos Creek BG of our numbers by August 2nd at the very latest. The docent fee is $3.00 per person and it will be best to pay for the tour by the July meeting. Checks are payable to ECA and should be sent to Mark Ross, Treasurer. Detailed maps and a potluck sign up sheet will be available at the July meeting or if necessary can be sent directly to individual members. Contact Steve Backstrom for more info. Here is a link to the Tour Guidelines – please snoop around their website as it sounds like a wonderful place and we should have a great time!!

Mark your calendars for the following events:
Garden Tour/Potluck – August 16
Puyallup Fair – September 5-21
Fall Show at Furney’s – October 31- Nov 2 (with set up on Oct. 29, 1 pm. Bloom
Prep. Oct. 30)
Awards Banquet at Angelos– November 13

November 29 Drinks and Hors D’Ouvres with Ivor Mace

-We will be making our last run for M&R soilless mix this month. Our next delivery will probably be in Jan. 2015, so be sure to order what you will need to carry you through this year. (You’ll need some for top dressing).

The following supplies will be available at the July meeting to support your final potting on.
Pre-Orders from Speciality Soils
– M&R Mix $6.25 per 1 cu ft. bag -Call Gary Budzeak by Tues, July 8th with your order.
– Pumice (coarse) $4.00 per 1 cu ft. -Call Gary Bud. by Tues with your order
– Farmyard Manure $ 2.25 per 1 cu ft. -Call Gary Bud. by Tues with your order
– Ronnie Elliot has 4 to 6 foot bamboo stakes available for 10 cents each – call Gary B to order.

Other Club supplies available
– Mid Season Fertilizer, 20-9-20+ Use this two weeks after final potting to 9″ or 8″.
– Early Season fertilizer, 12-45-10
Marathon 1% Systemic Insecticide (For control of black aphids)
-Twistems of various lengths
-Name tags-