53 April 23, 2008
It is so nice to have a week of sunny days. As you can tell, it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy.
Let me take a few moments to give you a few warnings on things you should not be doing at this time of the season. Someone came into the store this past weekend and she told me she had been at one of the big home improvement stores. She was in amazement as she saw people buying tomato and pepper plants. I will grant you that a few people may be buying the plants to take home and care for the plants until it is time to put these plants into the ground. Warm weather annuals and vegetables will not grow and probably will die if you put these plants into your garden at this time of the planting season. The last average frost for this area is May 10th. We have had frosts as late as the last week of May. Tomato and pepper plants will die if they are hit by a frost. Traditionally, we plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumber and squash plants during the last week of May. Shame on any store that would put warm weather vegetable plants out for sale at this time of the year.
The other thing I observed over the weekend was a convertible car driving down Rte 1 with the top down. This seemed to be a great idea until I noticed the shrubs sitting in the back seat, flapping back and forth in the 50 miles per hour wind created by the moving car. The wind created by this situation can damage any tender foliage that is emerging on the plants. If you are buying trees or shrubs with tender foliage, bring a sheet along with you to wrap the plants to protect the plants during the ride home. Even plants hanging out of the trunk of the car or in the bed of a pick up can be damaged by the wind.
Let’s get back to the vegetable garden. There are plants that you can put out into the garden at this time of the season. You can plant broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and pea plants at this time of the year. You can also plant onion sets now. You can plant the seeds to grow lettuce, spinach, peas, radish, carrot, beet and possibly a few more that I am forgetting as I write this way too early in the morning. Unless the nice weather changes, you will have to begin watering your garden as soon as you set out your plants or put the seeds into the ground.
Last week, we received a couple of shipments of perennials at our store. A few people asked if it was too early in the season to put perennials into the ground. Perennials are very hardy and should withstand any changes in the weather. The same holds true for planting trees and shrubs. The soil is warm enough to encourage root growth. Planting trees and shrubs now will allow the roots to get established before the warm weather sets in and the plants are trying to support new growth at the same time the plants are trying to get out a new root system.
If you are planting trees and shrubs, it is important to amend the soil if the soil is not of the consistency to support the growth of roots. You need to remember that if the roots cannot grow properly, you run a greater chance of the plant dying. To help with the formation of roots, you should always use a plant starter fertilizer to help the plants in getting a strong root system out into the soil.
Your lawn should be getting its first application of fertilizer. You can use a combination crabgrass control and lawn fertilizer as your first feeding if your lawn had crabgrass last summer. However, if you plan on seeding your lawn, just be sure that the crabgrass control uses the chemical Siduron. This is not in your regular Step 1 product. The chemical control in Step 1 will kill your grass seed. You should also be applying lime to your lawn if you have not done so in the past year.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.