~ March 31, 2010 ~
One Upon A Time...
Can you believe it? We've had a few warm days and the landscape is changing daily. On Monday
the forsythia was just starting to bloom and today it is in full bloom. Just today the magnolia
trees exploded with their colors of pink and white. There are daffodils everywhere and the grass
is such a beautiful shade of green. Can you hear the excitement in my voice? I have been out
everyday, taking it all in, overloading my senses with spring time.
It looks as if this heat wave is a short term thing. It is hard to believe that the temperature
is almost at 80° and might be 80° or higher tomorrow. Too hot too quick. We don't want to go from
winter to summer. That would be awful! It looks as if there is a break in the weather with a chance
of rain and cooler temperatures throughout the next 10 days. For right now, 65° if my favorite
working outside temperature. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Fairytale gardening,
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.
Carrots 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.
The Cultivation Situation...
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 just around the corner and many of us will find ourselves
with a potted lily or two. Always beautiful and often short-lived. So,
what do you do 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.
Find a 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.
Understand 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
Put A Fork In It...
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
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 tips:
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. A sharp blade ensures a clean
cut and a better looking lawn.
Don't wait 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.
"Green is the fresh emblem of well-founded hopes. In blue the spirit can
wander, but in green it can rest."
~ Mary Webb