How Does Your Garden Grow?

Welcome to our weekly Plant Exchange Blog where we share about plants of the region and people who grow them. We learn a lot from observing our plants as they grow but with so many factors impacting the plant, it gets complicated.

Farmers follow soil temperature changes like rain forecasts. As gardeners, it is easy not to consider the impact of cool soil in spring and hot soil in summer. This condition for growth occurs out of sight.

Joe Hoffman, horticulturist at Yankton Federal Prison Camp, has learned a lot about the impact of soil temperature on the plant growth at the annual Observatory Hill Display Garden at the prison in his past 27 years on the job. The garden for the public as they drive by, is on a steep hillside under full sun and weather exposure.


At closer look, one can see the marigolds that shape the yellow Olympic ring and white vincas that surround the rings for this season’s display of annuals.


On other parts of the prison camp grounds, Hoffman’s inmate workers enhance a compost amended flowerbed with mulch. Plants in the bed are selected with attention to hot and sometimes dry summers. The bed is surrounded with sun-reflecting cement that causes higher temperatures. He chooses plants heights for viewing and arrangement for color. Adequate water is essential for healthy plants.


Find out more Hoffman’s insights and suggestions about growing annuals in this Yankton Press & Dakotan link

See you next week at Plant Exchange Blog.

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