The last three days have been magnificent
and I have spent every one of them keeping my hands busy.
Raking (why is it that I am always raking?), watering and
planting. Yes, planting. I bought some bowls of tulips (just
starting to poke up through the potting mix) yesterday and
transplanted them today
Now this might sound kind of crazy but I have never thought of
transplanting bulbs into the ground or into other pots.
So when I saw those bowls and knew that I had not planted a
single bulb last fall I snatched them up and decided to try a
little experiment. Now, since the bulbs have been started in a
greenhouse it will be interesting to see how they do once
transplanted. I am hoping it works. What a great way to get some
spring color for those of us who were too busy last fall to
plant. I'll keep you posted on how they progress.
always so much fun trying something new. Kevin and I have
decided to start adding little
to the site. This week is me transplanting
the bulbs mentioned
above. As the weeks go by we'll keep you updated with
what we are doing in our own gardens. I will be covering topics
like soil amendments, how to plant trees, shrubs, perennials and
annuals. The best place for planting them and so many other fun
things. So now you have the opportunity to actually watch me
create my own gardens. I hope you enjoy it. Please give us
feedback. We love to hear from our readers.
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...
St. Pat's and Potatoes...
While it's traditional to plant potatoes on St. Patrick's
Day Savvygardeners should be aware of two assumptions made in
setting this date. First, that your soil is consistently 45º
or higher. The recent warm-up means sunny locations
may be ready.
assumption is that the soil is dry enough to be worked. Working
in overly moist soil can make a mess that will be hard to
correct later. How can you tell? Grab a handful of soil and
squeeze. If it holds together like clay it's too wet. If it
crumbles like a cupcake it's ready for planting.
weather and your soil closely. You really want to get those
'taters planted between now and the end of March.
The Old Heave Ho...
With higher temperatures
come thawed soils.
Good news, but also cause for some attention to the landscape. 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
Healthy Lawn Diet...
Though advertising for lawn fertilizers is at its yearly
high, most lawns don’t
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 ¾ lbs N/1000 sq. ft. with a fertilizer that
contains mostly slow-release nitrogen.
"For oft, when on my
couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon the inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my hear with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."