April, Summer Hotter Than Others...
Ok, it looks as if we had spring in January and we are having
summer in April. 81˚
today and a high of 89˚
tomorrow. I don't know about you but I am not quite ready for
these warmer temperatures. 89˚
sounds way too hot for April. Things are going crazy in the
garden. All of my tulips are in full bloom. Depending on the
weather it is typical for me to have some around until the end
of April. I am sure that the heat and wind will have taken care
of most of them by next weekend. A short-lived
spring season. Speaking of which, I was shopping at
Family Tree Nursery the other day and was wanting some
pansies. One of their employees, Jeff
Drew, told me that people are
requesting all types of annuals to plant and that most of their
pansies were gone. Pansies gone? But
it is just April 12th. How could that be?
supposed to get some rain yesterday
but it missed us. It is hot and windy today. I bet you know
where I am going with this. For those of you who guessed
watering you are right! Don't forget to water. Pots, lawns,
newly planted anything, especially since it is warmer than
expected for this time of the year.
Easter to you and your families!
Flowers Don't Tip Over...
Cornell University study finds that a touch of booze is a
great way to keep certain houseplants from getting too tall by
stunting their growth. "Dilute solutions of alcohol - though not
beer or wine - are a simple and effective way to reduce stem and
leaf growth," said William Miller, professor of horticulture and
director of the Flower Bulb Research Program at Cornell.
it simply might be water stress, that is, the alcohol makes it
more difficult for the plant to absorb water, so the plant
suffers a slight lack of water, enough to reduce leaf and stem
growth, but not enough to affect flower size or flower
longevity." But don't serve beer or wine to plants -- the sugars
wreak havoc on their health.
Tuckered Out Tulips?
Unfortunately it's not uncommon for many modern tulip varieties
to "wear out" after a few years and eventually produce
insignificant blooms or no blooms at all. Here are some tips to
increase the chances of perennial blooming of your tulips:
the bulbs at the depth indicated on the packaged they
them - especially in the fall - to help develop strong
off flower heads after they have bloomed.
not remove the foliage until it has turned brown and
Daffodil's Deadly Secret...
If you take my cue and decide to cut some flowering bulbs from
the garden make sure you keep the daffodils separated from other
cuttings. Daffodil stems secrete a fluid that can drastically
reduce the life of other cut flowers in the same vase. After a
couple of days in a vase they should be OK for sharing the same
A popular and
effective way to prevent disease in the vegetable garden is
called crop rotation. By rotating the location of vegetable
plantings within the garden each season you can greatly reduce
the likelihood of soil-borne disease. This method works best
when you rotate crop families from place to place and
the rotation includes at least three families. The
effectiveness of crop rotation is diminished when the total
gardening area is quite small. Just do your best! Here's a
list of the most common home garden vegetables and their
leek, onion, shallot
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale,
kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, turnip
gourd, melons, pumpkin, squash
Lima bean, pea,
snap bean, soy bean
pepper, potato, tomato
The Forsythia Clock...
When the forsythia have finished blooming,
it is a sign to do several things.
Apply a preemergent herbicide such as
Preen (if desired) to garden beds as the soil temperature is
now conducive to weed growth.
back mulch around roses and discard.
Prune your roses and dig in a balanced
Apply a crabgrass preventer to lawns if
you have had a problem last year.
Readers of our newsletter know that we recommend that
dandelions be controlled in the fall. However, if you missed the
fall application, a second opportunity for dandelion control is
approaching. Research by Purdue University has shown that good
control can be achieved with an herbicide applied during or soon
after the first flush of flowers. Use a combination product that
contains 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba. Examples would include
products such as Trimec, Weed Out, Weed-B-Gon and Weed Free
Zone. If you have only a few dandelions, consider spot treatment
rather than a blanket application. There are ornamental plants
that are very sensitive to drift from these herbicides, so be
careful. Avoid spraying on windy days.
The plants with the little purple flowers
that are starting to make themselves known in home lawns are
called henbit. If you are not sure this is what you have, check
the stems. If they are square rather than round, you have
henbit. Though it actually comes up in the fall, most people do
not pay much attention to this weed until it starts to flower.
Trying to kill it at this late stage with an herbicide is
usually a waste of time and money. Though the plant may be
burned back, it will rarely be killed. So what do we do?
Remember, this is a winter annual; it comes up in the fall,
matures in the spring and dies as soon as it starts to get hot.
All that we can do now is keep it mowed until nature takes its
However, we can do something next fall that
will help next spring. Henbit usually germinates about
mid-October. Spraying with 2,4-D, Weed-B-Gon, Weed Free Zone,
Weed Out, or Trimec in early November can go a long way toward
eliminating henbit next spring. The plants are small
during the fall and relatively easy to control.
"A violet in the
youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute."