Happy May and welcome to spring at Tonkadale! Today, we are talking definitions. Definitions to help you be the best you can be as a plant parent, gardener or otherwise. Full Sun: 6 hours of sun, usually West or South facing. Hot sun. Use plants that love the heat! Shade: 4 hours or less of direct sun, usually East or North facing Morning Sun: Sun in the morning from sun rise to about 12 pm or 1 pm, East facing. Cooler sun. Use plants that like a mix of sun and shade. A great place for all kinds of begonias. Annuals: plants that like to party all season long, but don’t come back every year. Fertilize all through the growing season. Perennials: plants that like to party year after year. They take a nap in winter and come back in the spring. Fertilize once active growth begins. Hardiness Zone: the Twin Cities area is Zone 4b. Perennial plants in our area can tolerate and will survive in temperatures down to -25 degrees F. Hardiness zones appear on perennial plant labels and are a good guide when determining winter survival. There are many other factors to consider, however that are out of the plants control – snow cover, moisture, sheltered area. Sometimes we can get away with a couple of Zone 5’s with a little luck from a micro-climate and extra winter protection. Drop-in: the generic plastic pot we or you can plant your container gardens in. Fill with fresh, Tonka Terra potting soil each season, pick your plants, and plant. Simply and gently “drop into” your heavy decorative containers. Dump and repeat in fall, winter and early spring! Beneficial insect: if you purchase a hanging basket at Tonkadale, you might notice a little tea bag looking thing on a stick or hooked on the hanger. These are sachets of beneficial insects. Good bugs, eating bad bugs. These bugs are microscopic and protect our baskets from pests like spider mites, white flies, and thrips. Don’t worry, they won’t invade your yard and garden. They actually just kind of go away (die) when their food source is gone. Simply toss the tea bag thingy in the compost or yard waste container. Height vs heighth: it’s height. If you want something tall in your planter or in your garden – it’s called height not heighth. Carts: Carts are conveniently and backwardsly located in the middle of the parking lot. Grab one on your way in! Bathrooms: As you are entering Tonkadale, take a sharp right to get to your destination. We have baby changing tables too! Plant Shoppe: the newest destination at Tonkadale. We’ve converted the North wing into a plant parents dream come true. Air plants, cactus, funky foliage and potted succulents are waiting to be discovered. New pots seem to be arriving daily. Local potters welcome. Solutions Center: this is where you find your problem solving tool-kit. There are lots of Organic and safe for organic gardening options. Some of the hard stuff too for those extra tricky situations. Read the label and follow directions. Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes: Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow, flower and produce fruit until the first frost. They can grow up to 12 ft. in a season, but 6 ft. is more normal. They require substantial staking or hooping. Determinate tomatoes grow to a certain height, usually 3-4 ft. These types of tomatoes bloom, fruit and ripen over a period of several weeks and then they are done. In our area that’s usually late July into August. Determinate tomatoes are suitable for containers and still may require staking or hooping. Planting mix & Compost: we recommend mixing a combination of planting mix and compost in with your native soil when planting new perennials, shrubs and trees. Rich, well drained and healthy soil will set you up for planting success. Mycorrhizae: a microscopic fungus that grows in on and creates a symbiotic relationship with the roots of plants. Mycorrhizae allow for enhanced water and nutrition uptake and also stimulates microbial activity. Soil and fungus are so neat and so necessary. You can find mycorrhizae in two of our favorite products – Biotone and Purple Cow plant based compost. Use either when planting annuals, perennials or vegetables this season. Hori hori knife: the best gardening tool on the planet. Great for digging, dividing, transplanting and being a garden goddess. Happy spring! Plant plants, it’s important.