46April 13, 2016

It’s nice to see the lawns beginning to turn green. Pretty soon we will be hearing the sound of lawn mowers early in the morning.

This past week, people have stopped by the store and asked if they should replace the soil in their window boxes and other planters. I always replace the soil in my planters. If you look at the soil closely in your planters, you will see a lot of the roots that remain from last year’s plantings. In my mind, this tangle of old roots makes it harder for the new roots from this years plants to spread out in the soil. You may find that if you dig out the top few inches of soil and replace the soil with new soil, your plants will grow better. In raised beds, you can just add some compost to the soil to help with moisture retention and to get the beneficial organisms in the compost to work their magic in making your plants grow their best.

If you are filling new raised beds with soil, you need to be sure that the soil is of sufficient quality for the growth of your plants. If you buy the soil in bulk, you may have to add some compost or peat to the soil to improve the quality of the soil. It is very likely that you will need to add some lime to the soil to get the acidity out of the soil. If you are not sure about how much lime you need to add to the soil, you can buy a PH test kit for a couple of dollars. This test will let you know if you need to add lime and if so, how much lime you will need to add to the soil. We have these kits in our store.

If you are doing a small raised bed, you should consider using the garden soil from a company called the Coast of Maine. The soil is top quality and many customers have seen incredible results from using this soil. Several years ago, we had two customers come into the store and they each bought a rasised bed kit from us. One used the Coast of Maine garden soil and the other bought the cheaper soil from one of the box stores. At the end of the season, the difference in how the plants grew was very obvious. The next season, the box store soil was removed and the Coast of Maine soil went into the raised bed.

As the new growth comes out on your plants, you should be looking at the plants for signs of insects or fungus diseases. For example, aphids will most likely attack rose bushes as the flower buds begin to form on your rose bushes. A black aphid that feeds on the leaves will attack viburnum leaves. Your fruit trees will need preventative sprayings to keep insects and diseases under control. I have always advised people to take a walk around their yard once a week to look for any signs of insect or disease that may have appeared on your plants. It is a lot easier to stop a problem on your plants if you catch the problem early and take measures to control the problem.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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