I have a great story to share with you. I was in
Family Tree Nursery the other day, buying a new hose, when a
couple walked in looking for perennials - to plant. I
snickered to myself and listened as the professionals at Family
Tree Nursery explained that is was still a bit early to be
planting most things. As tempting as it might be,
remember it is just March 1st which means we officially have 19
more days before the Vernal Equinox
(the first day of spring).
If you are
interested in planting something outside consider pansies. They
love the cold weather (which we are bound to have more of) and
they will continue to produce beautiful color way into May. You
can't go wrong.
There is a
slight chance of rain for the weekend. Slight, like 20% chance,
so if you did not follow my directions from last week's
newsletter get out and water. It has been ages (OK maybe I am
exaggerating) since we have seen any significant amounts of
rain. In the winter we need up to 1 inch a month so just keep
that in mind.
Lawn & Tree were by this week to fertilize and
apply preemergent to keep the
crabgrass at bay. If you are not into keeping up with a
fertilizing schedule or just don't feel like caring for your
lawn as it needs to be cared for then Ryan Lawn & Tree are the
people you need to call. They have been taking care of our lawn
for the last 6 years and do and excellent job. Highly qualified
individuals who will keep you informed as to what your grass
needs to survive in this crazy Midwest weather.
If you have spring bulbs in the ground we'll bet that at least
some of them are poking up through the soil by now. Last week
we talked about moving any leaves or compost out of the way to
make room for their growth. This week we tackle their care and
"You need to
fertilize as soon as the foliage pokes up through the ground.
That's when the bulbs' roots are most active," said Ward Upham,
horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and
Extension. "If you wait until or after they're flowering, you're
basically wasting time and money."
Blood meal is
the traditional choice and still an excellent fertilizer for
spring-flowering bulbs, Upham said. Its application rate is 2
pounds per 100 square feet or 1 teaspoon per square foot.
Now would be a great time to think about
dividing select perennials. We say this in the fall also.
Don't be confused. Just use the following logic: Divide
fall-blooming plants in the spring and spring-blooming plants in
the fall. Plants to divide now include asters, mums, shasta
daisy, and yarrow (to name a few).
Just Can't Wait...
If you are just dying to do something in the flower garden
try sowing the seeds of asters, bachelor buttons, calendulas,
delphinium, dianthus, larkspur, and snapdragon. These hardy
annuals should weather the remaining cold days and get
your flower garden off to an early start. As insurance against
really cold weather you can always sow smaller quantities at
Peas Be With You...
Peas should be among the earliest crops you plant in your
garden, and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked.
They love cool weather, grow quickly, produce abundantly for a
few weeks, and then succumb rapidly to our summer heat. More pea
- Some varieties, especially snap peas, require
trellising, but many modern varieties do not. Seed catalogs
or packets usually will indicate whether this is required.
- Because plants don't stand very well on their own, peas
may benefit from being planted in double rows 6" apart that
will allow plants to support each other.
- Peas should be planted 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart
with about 2 to 3 feet between the double row. If trellised,
space rows 4 to 6 feet apart.
- Plant several varieties to make sure you get each type,
and to enjoy a succession of harvests.
Once the soil is suitable for digging
you may be thinking about planting some asparagus crowns. Don't
dig too far down when planting them. Yields improve
dramatically when crowns are set at a depth of 5 to 6 inches -
not the commonly advised 12 inches. Contrary to the standard
practices of deep planting and not harvesting for up to three
seasons, recent studies show that harvesting shallow-planted
asparagus after the first year boosts yields 40 percent over
Warm Season Weeds...
Warm-season grasses (bermudagrass,
zoysiagrass and buffalograss) need a different set of
instructions than those for more common cool-season grasses
(bluegrass and fescues). If you have warm-season grasses
you can use the month of March to spot-treat broadleaf weeds.
Make sure to spot-treat on a day that is 50˚
F or warmer. Rain or watering within 24 hours of application
will reduce the effectiveness of your efforts.
Head 'Em Off At The Pass...
Though cultural practices are the most effective crabgrass
controls, herbicides are often necessary to really get the job
done. Crabgrass can be controlled through an application of a
pre-emergence herbicide between mid-March and mid-April.
The herbicides available on the market have been shown to be
very effective crabgrass controls, but often control suffers
when the product is not applied correctly or when the lawn is
not maintained properly. When using pre-emergence herbicides,
keep in mind:
- Maintain a healthy dense lawn.
- Closely read and follow all label recommendations.
- Apply the herbicide accurately and uniformly over the
- Apply the herbicide early because they will not affect
crabgrass already germinated. Early would be mid- March in
the greater Kansas City area.
- After application, apply enough water to move the
herbicide off the leaf blades to the soil surface for
- Do not apply these products over newly-seeded areas or
try to seed into areas where these products have been
"Exclusiveness in a
garden is a mistake as great as it is in society."