1. Before you gel started, lake note: You may have to set your alarm clock. "You should get up before the sun hits the leaves to foliar-feed,'' Rick says. "Then the stomata (porelike openings) of the leaves are open, taking in their moisture" for the day ahead.
  2. Mix the liquids with 1 gallon of water in the sprayer and shake to blend thoroughly.
  3. Spray generously, coating tops and bottoms of leaves. Stretch out your treatments. Don't spray more often than every 5 days, Rick suggests, even if plants show symptoms of a fungus or other ailment. "Always give the plants time to put the extra nutrients to work,"

For a last-ditch effort, when a treasured plant is nearly dead, Rose Marie Nichols McGee reaches for the liquid seaweed—a magical tip that she cherishes but hesitates to share. "I love liquid seaweed, but I'm always nervous about making too many claims for something. It's a tip we kind of pass on to friends," says the president of Nichols Garden Nursery.

So consider this a tip from a friend: To try to save a dying plant, make a circle of liquid seaweed around the trunk or stem and water it in. "If there's still something there, the seaweed gives it a booster."

he says. Rick recommends a dose of "nutrient and mineral soup" at transplanting time to help reduce shock and give plants a boost. For the squeamish (or those with curious cats): You can buy odorless fish emulsion.

Yield: About 1 gallon of Fishy Foliar Spray

Oil on the Offense ^pray

To prevent fungal diseases from taking hold in late winter and early spring when wet, rainy weather can mean trouble, spray your plants with diluted oil, suggests Andy Lopez, founder of the Invisible Gardeners of America. Andy uses oil on fruit trees, vegetables, roses, and most flowers. However, he cautions, oil benefits only shiny-leaf plants. Do not spray oil on fuzzy-leaf plants, which are vulnerable to burning.

Ingredients and Supplies

I teaspoon oil (plant-based oil such as castor, coconut, or a light salad oil) 1 teaspoon liquid soap (any biodegradable dishwashing liquid or Dr, Bronners Peppermint 18-in-l Soap)

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