Changes In Latitude...
We have just arrived home after spending a few days in the
A nice little getaway for everyone in the family. I have to say
that it is absolutely beautiful there. We spent most of our time
on Duck Key which is located halfway
through the long line of keys. We traveled one day to Key West
and spent time walking around and taking in the sites. We
managed to tour Ernest Hemingway's home and gardens. I asked one
of the ground employees if he was a gardener and he just laughed
and said that Hemingway didn't do
anything in the gardens and that they were
his wife's passion. He then remarked that even his wife
was not a gardener and hired all of the gardening
out. Of course I was disappointed. I
think that everyone should enjoy working in their own gardens as
much as I do. At any rate we had a terrific time and we were
excited by how everything had sort of greened-up while we were
Family Tree Nursery's Spring Open House this weekend. It
starts this Friday and runs through Sunday. Saturday and Sunday
are special days for the kids. There will be a lot of exciting
things for them to do. Face painting, petting zoo, arts and
crafts and other things to keep them busy while you shop. Lots
of great specials on plants along with seminars given by experts
in the industry. A must attend!
Spring Lawns: To Seed or Not to
As spring approaches you will no doubt start inspecting your
lawn only to re-discover that it is less than perfect.
Most of us have bare spots or entire areas that are
begging for new seed. Reliable sources will tell you that spring
is the second best time of year to plant grass seed (the best
time being fall). What they don't
tell you is that in this case second best may not be good enough
at all. We'll try to explain...
is the best time to plant because seeds get the double benefit
of warm soil and cooler air temperatures. Fall
planted grass also establishes a strong root system even after
the grass blades have stopped growing for the season.
By contrast spring sown grass seed
gets cool air temperatures but not warm soil - making it
tougher to germinate. In many cases
the grass is not established well enough to take the heat
imposed on it by the typical Kansas City summer.
More often than not, your new grass
is toast by mid-July.
doesn't mean you shouldn't plant new grass in the spring.
You just need to be aware of the
risks. At our house we try to limit
spring grass seeding to small bare patches and hope for the
best. For bigger jobs consider
contacting a professional lawn care company
(we use Ryan Lawn & Tree)
to improve your chances.
Most catalogs don't deliver your plant orders until it's
time to plant them. Unfortunately sometimes local conditions
are different than "usual" and your plants arrive a bit early
for planting. Don't panic, but don't ignore them either! Your
mail-order plants do need some care in the time between their
arrival and your ability to plant them. Unwrap them immediately
and check for specific directions on early care. Lacking this
just keep them cool and moist in a protected area until you can
safely get them in the ground.
Plant By The Rules...
Planning on planting a tree (or two or
three) this spring? Make sure you do it right. That tree is
supposed to be around for a long time. Our friends at K-State
Research & Extension recently published 10 Rules for Planting
Check it out here...
for the Five Senses"
Family Tree Nursery presents
their 11th Annual Open House
and Spring Flower Show
March 17th -19th in the Green
at the Overland Park Garden Center
8424 Farley 913-642-6503
Live demonstrations, free seminars and great pre-season
The Young Gardener's Club is celebrating it's 10th
Birthday. Join Potter Rabbit in activities for the whole
The Old Heave Ho...
Temperatures have been jumping around a
bit lately but a well deserved thaw in the soil may be a
permanent thing soon. Scout around your garden for signs of
recent heaving - the forcing of shallow-rooted plants
out of the soil due to the freezing and thawing of the ground.
Don't tamp the plants or the surrounding soil as this may overly
compact the soil. Simply give them a gentle push back into
Gardening Without A Garden...
If your outdoor space is limited, consider gardening without
a garden. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and many other vegetables
do well when grown in containers. Barrels, window boxes, cut-off
milk jugs, almost any container that provides good drainage will
do as long as it is deep enough to support the plant. Minimum
depths for some container-grown vegetables:
- 4 inches - lettuce, radishes, beets, low-growing herbs
- 6 inches - chard, turnips, short-rooted carrots
- 8 inches - eggplant, peppers, bush cucumbers
- 10 inches - cauliflower, broccoli
- 12 inches - tomatoes, long-rooted carrots
If you are planning to core-aerate this
spring, reserve your machine now so you can get the job done in
March or early-April. Coring early in the spring gives
cool-season lawns a chance to recover before crabgrass and other
warm-season annual weeds start to germinate.
Research & Extension,
core-aerating is one of the best things you
can do for your lawn. It relieves compaction, hastens thatch
decomposition, increases water infiltration and helps promote
better root growth. Pay attention to the soil moisture level
when coring. The soil should easily crumble when worked between
the fingers. If it is too wet, the machine's tines will plug and
it will merely punch holes in the wet soil, which increases
compaction. If it is too dry, the tines will not be able to
penetrate very deeply.
Though advertising for lawn fertilizers is at its yearly
high, most lawns donít
really need fertilizer now. Do not
apply high rates of nitrogen (more than 0.75 lbs N/1000 sq. ft.)
to your lawn from March through early May. Too much nitrogen at
this time of the year will lead to problems later this summer
such as poor root growth and disease. Additionally, since
spring rains play havoc with mowing schedules, nitrogen
fertilization can further complicate your mowing schedule by
causing grass plants to grow too fast. Instead of applying
fertilizer now, it is better to wait until mid-to late-May and
apply up to ĺ lbs N/1000 sq. ft. with a fertilizer that
contains mostly slow-release nitrogen.
"Weather means more
when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a
shower and thinking how it is soaking in and around your lettuce
and green beans."