47April 8, 2015

While I was out walking the dog, I saw a bit of green grass sprouting up near a building. Along with the grass starting to grow, I also saw the telltale signs of some dandelions growing near the building. It would appear that the weeds always survive the winter!

As the soil warms and dries out a bit, you will begin to see many of the spring flowering bulbs spring to life. I have seen some daffodil bulbs pushing up their leaves. The pointy buds of tulips are beginning to put out growth. Soon the tulips and daffodils will be coming into bloom. In some cases, the daffodils will bloom, but the tulips will loose their flowers to the fuzzy predators that roam your yard. Rodents do not eat daffodil and hyacinth flowers and leaves. Tulips and crocuses are a delicacy to rabbits, mice and squirrels. Squirrels have a nasty habit of chewing off the tulip flower buds just before the flowers will begin to open. As far as I can figure, the squirrels are not interested in eating the buds. I think they chew off the buds to get to the sugary water that comes out of the tulip stem once the flower bud has been chewed off. To prevent all of this damage, you want to begin the growing season by spraying your tulips with an animal repellent. The animal repellent will make the flower buds and leaves taste bad to the squirrels and any other rodent that wishes to make your spring flowers a premium salad bar. Animal repellents need to be applied on a regular schedule if they are to remain effective. Don’t wait until you find half the tulip buds on the ground before you apply the repellent. Be proactive in keeping rodents at bay in your yard.

A reader sent in a question about what are the best vegetables to plant if you want to begin a garden with a child. Back in the late 80’s, I did a column on starting a garden with your children. At the time, it received a lot of feedback from readers. The gist of what I said was that you need to know how big a garden you are going to do, before you can pick out items to plant. If you bring a child into a garden center and show them a seed rack and ask them what vegetables they want to plant, you can be fairly sure that they will pick out pumpkins and watermelon. Unfortunately, these plants take up a ton of room in a garden. I think it is best to plant vegetables that children already like to eat. Putting in a row of green beans is an easy task. Carrots and beets may be a little harder to grow. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, broccoli and cucumbers all need a certain amount of room to grow properly. Some vegetables can be grown in containers. Once you know what things you would like to grow, you can stop by the store and we can tell you what size garden you will need and what things are easier to grow. This may sound like a logical task, but I have spent many years explaining to novice gardeners that the reason their garden isn’t doing well is because they have too many plants crammed into a small space.

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

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