Opening Day Curveball....
Well, she did it again. Mother Nature threw us a
curveball (seemed appropriate
considering it is baseball's opening
week). 80º one day, 40º
the next. There is nothing quite like living in Kansas. The
weather can change on a dime. I hope you received our
frost alert and covered your tender plants and shrubs. Check
this week's video on protecting plants from frost. You will
want to do the same for tulips or anything else that is in bloom
and tender. Once again as stated in our frost alert you do not
have to use cloth sheets, you can use
plastic (as long as it is not touching the plant) large pots,
trash bags or anything else you might have lying around. And
last but not least, be sure to uncover
things in the morning so that they don't get too warm beneath
the covering once the sun comes out. I
hope these frost alerts are beneficial. We all need a little
reminder now and then. It is sometimes
hard to remember when the weather turns warm that spring has
just begun and it is still too early to plant some things.
(the family dog) and I have been taking longer walks lately. It
is hard not to be in love with the outdoors this time of the
year. Everything is so colorful. When we are out I am amazed by
the brilliance all around. I feel as if I have been placed in an
oil painting. The colors chosen so perfectly by the artist. I
hope that these next few days will be kind to those plants
susceptible to frost. I would hate for anyone to lose anything
to ol' Jack Frost. Stay warm, cooler
temperatures lie ahead through the weekend.
It is easy to sow too many seeds in a row of beets or
carrots. Carrot seeds are small and angular making it difficult
to scatter seeds without inadvertently dropping several of them
together. Beets emerge from a capsule containing several seeds
and often come up too thick. Do your best not to overseed either
of these popular vegetables. Both of these crops need room for
roots to expand and grow.
should be spaced about 2 to 3 inches apart, and beets 3 to 4
inches apart. Once they begin growing you can remove some of the
plants in the row to attain these desirable plant spacings.
Dig This, Or Don't...
Here's some advice - "Don't cultivate your garden." This may
sound kind of crazy, but the truth is cultivating and deep hoeing
can cause considerable damage to the shallow roots of flowers and
vegetables. Also, every time you cultivate, you stir the soil
and bring weed seeds to the surface where they can germinate. A
two-inch layer of mulch will stop annual weeds, otherwise, cut
off weeds at the surface of the soil with a sharp scuffle hoe, so
in a week or 10 days, you won't have another batch to destroy.
If you do not have a scuffle hoe, pull the weeds by hand. If you
start early in the season and keep them pulled regularly, it is
not too big a job in a small to medium-sized garden.
Longer Life for Lilies...
Easter is coming soon and many of you will
probably receive a lily or two as gifts. A common question
this time of year is what to do with the lily after the blooms
have gone. Unfortunately the lily doesn't survive as a houseplant,
but it can be transplanted outdoors where it may bloom
again this year.
sunny spot in the garden to plant the bulb. Remove the plant
from its container and loosen the roots. Plant the bulb a few
inches deeper than it was in the container and cover it with
soil. Water thoroughly and fertilize with an all-purpose garden
fertilizer. For the remainder of the season water and fertilize
as you would your other garden plantings. Don't be alarmed when
the top withers and dies. New shoots will emerge and may flower
in July or August.
that lilies are not normally winter-hardy in the greater Kansas
City area. To improve your chances for success, mulch them with
4 inches of straw or leaves in the fall. With luck you will have
new flowers again next June!
Tines For Transplanting...
One of the trickiest parts of raising seedlings indoors is
the delicate process of transplanting up to a larger peat pot.
All too often the soil surrounding the roots just falls apart.
Try using an ordinary table fork next time. You can loosen the
plants in the seed flat without damaging the roots. Then you can
open a hole for the new transplant in the new flat or pot by
rocking it sideways. Finally, by sliding the tines around the
delicate stem and pressing down, the transplant can be firmed in
the growing medium.
Befuddled By Bulbs...
Every year about this time we start
getting e-mails asking about all the bulbs currently
offered by retailers and garden centers. "Isn't fall the correct
time to plant bulbs?" is the common
question. Well, fall is the correct time to plant
spring flowering bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc...)
But there's another group of "bulbs" that can be planted soon for
floral displays this summer. They include begonias, dahlias,
daylilies, and so many more! If you're ready to give them a try
take a moment to read our Guide
to Summer Flowering Bulbs in Kansas City.
Are You A Good Host?
Sometimes gardening is a lot like hosting a party. Plants, like
party guests, need to be steered toward others that will enjoy
their company. The practice of companion planting, growing
vegetables in proximity to helpful plants, has become quite
popular over the years. Here are some of our favorite matchmaker
Keep Distance From
Carrots, peppers, basil,
Mature dill, kohlrabi,
Carrots, cucumber, pea,
potatoes, radish, marigold, nasturtium, rosemary
Garlic, onion, shallots,
cucumbers, celery, turnip
Garlic, onion, gladiolus
Beans, radish, tomatoes,
peppers, onion, sage
Corn, tomatoes, cabbage,
radishes, dill, nasturtium
Aromatic herbs, potatoes
Ready, Set, Mow...
If you haven't started mowing your lawn
yet, get ready to. Start by walking your property and picking up
everything that shouldn't be there when mowing - toys, sticks,
golf balls, whatever. Also, make sure your mower blade is sharp.
until the entire lawn needs mowing. This time of year many lawns
grow in a patchy manner and there will be spots that are several
inches taller than others.
"Spring would not be
spring without bird songs."
Francis M. Chapman