~ April 9, 2008 ~
I was so grateful for the weekend weather. It gave me an opportunity to plant some
pansies and tulips
Yes tulips. I totally cheated. I purchased a few tulip bowls
and put them in the ground. A few bulbs were planted last fall but not nearly enough
for the size of our gardens. Desperate times require desperate measures. There were
plenty of daffodils, no tulips. I couldn't stand it. Yellow is the theme this spring.
Yellow daffodils, yellow tulips and pansies. I was inspired by all of the forsythia.
It is hard to resist the bright yellow. That color represents the true beginning of
The ten day weather pattern looks crazy. Thunderstorms, rain turning to snow, a
possible freeze, YIKES! For those of you who have planted tender perennials or annuals
be prepared and make sure that they can be covered or brought inside. Same goes for
tulips or daffodils. Depending on what is in bloom decides what I bring in. Our daffodils
and tulips are just now starting to pop so I will probably cut them, bring them in and enjoy their
color inside. Who wants to lose all of the beautiful flowers to wind, hail or worse yet
a big freeze? Not me.
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
Last week we warned you about sowing vegetable seeds too close together.
Unfortunately some seeds (carrots
are a good example) are impossibly small and difficult to evenly sow even by the savviest of Savvygardeners. If your carrots (and lettuce, spinach, and beets for that matter)
start coming up in overcrowded masses it's pretty easy to thin them. Simply pluck
them from the ground or snip their tops off with a pair of small scissors.
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 had a problem last year.
Daffodil's Deadly Secret...
If you 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 by themselves they should be OK for sharing the same
Second Chance Dandelions...
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
We're obviously not opposed to using chemicals when warranted. We
do encourage you to use them sensibly. So...
- If you have only a few dandelions, consider spot treatment
rather than a blanket application. Not only is this better for the
environment, it will save you some money as well.
- Avoid spraying on windy days! There are many ornamental plants
that are very sensitive to drift from herbicides (synthetic as well as natural).
Don't let them become collateral damage.
The Hard Facts...
Plants bought from greenhouses (locally or by mail order)
need to be "hardened off", or acclimatized, before they
are permanently placed in the garden. Basically you're just
preparing them for a rather significant change in temperatures,
humidity, and sunlight. Start by placing newly purchased
plants outside only during the day, bringing them in at night as
protection from cool, night temperatures. Gradually leave
the plants outside for longer periods of time until they have
fully acclimated and can be planted.
"There is something in all of us which responds to something
we have known in our childhood. It may be a scent, or a touch, or
a sight, or anything which evokes a memory.
For some of us this evocation arises from the recollection
of flowers we saw growing in our grandparent's gardens and
now search for in vain."
~ Vita Sackville-West