~ April 8, 2009 ~
I know it's hard but let's not get too excited. We survived Tuesday morning's low without
much damage but if you think that our chances of having another frost or freeze are slim
you might want to think again. The 10-day extended forecast calls for Friday's low at 33° and
Monday's low at 31°. Yep, April use to roll around and we would all feel as if we had survived
winter and we would begin planting. It looks as if the "Climate Change" that is taking place
is really affecting what we can do in April. Most of the blooming bulbs, tulips, daffodils,
crocus etc... survived the plunging temperatures. I would caution you however on planting anything
that cannot take a slight freeze. The good news is if you can't stand it any longer plant pansies.
They add color to the landscape and will withstand the crazy temperature fluctuations we've been having.
We can only hope that once May arrives we will be freed from the drastic morning lows. Believe it or
not, summer will soon arrive and all I can say is "Bring it on!"
Don't forget to mulch after or even before planting. Mulch plays a very valuable role in the garden. Mulch
helps to keep weeds at bay, it helps to stabilize the temperature of the ground and it also helps the ground
retain its moisture. It really is the finishing touch to any garden. Our friends at
Missouri Organic Recycling
will deliver mulch, topsoil, compost and other products right to your driveway! How exciting is that? I love the
thought of not having to drag around all of those heavy bags. So make it easy on yourself, give them a call.
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
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 associated families:
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.
"One of the daintiest joys of spring is the falling of soft rain
among blossoms. The shining and apparently weightless
drops come pattering into the maytree with a sound of soft
laughter; one alights on a white petal with a little inaudible
tap; then petal and raindrop fall together down the steeps
of green and white, accompanied by troops of other petals,
each with her attendant drop and her passing breath of
~ Mary Webb