55 March 24, 2010

It’s funny how a lack of snow on the ground and temperatures in the 60’s can bring the gardeners into the garden centers. People were looking for any sign that spring has arrived. Yet in our area, spring may arrive on the calendar on March 20th, but it hardly ever is really spring – like weather during mid-March. To have warm weather was a treat but we cannot assume that we can really start to garden.

We had a few customers come into the store looking to buy annual flowers and vegetable plants. The problem is that even though we had nice warm weather, we are bound to have colder weather again. As I write this column, the weather report is for another rain storm. The majority of the annuals and vegetable plants are not going to be happy being exposed to cold rain. On top of that, you can be sure that we will have night time temperatures that will go below freezing. Once tender annuals and vegetable plants are exposed to freezing temperatures, you are going to lose those plants to the cold.

There are a few plants that you can plant now. Pansies are very cold tolerant. They can be put into window boxes, hanging baskets and other types of planters. As long as the soil in your gardens is not too wet, you can plant pansies in the ground.

If you want to do some planting in your vegetable garden, you can plant peas and you can plant onion sets. Depending on how much the soil in your garden has warmed up, you may be able to plant radishes. Other than those things it is still pretty early to be planting anything in your vegetable garden.

If you have your lawn cleaned up, you can apply lime to your lawn. Lawns do not grow well in an acid soil. The rain we get tends to make our soil acidic. It has gotten to the point that most people have to apply lime to their lawn each year. If you didn’t apply lime to your lawn last fall, you should buy a Ph soil test kit. The single test kit costs less than $2 and will tell you how acidic your soil is. The results of the test will tell you how much lime you need to apply to get your soil back to “normal”.

A few people have been ready to apply the first step of fertilizer to their lawn. The first step is usually a lawn fertilizer plus crabgrass control. The crabgrass control forms a barrier on the surface of the soil. The barrier cannot be disturbed after it is applied. However the biggest problem is applying the product and getting heavy rain after it is applied. If you get the rain like we had 2 weekends ago, that fertilizer and crabgrass control was washed away. The right time to apply this first step is when the forsythia bushes are about to flower. I think we have a few weeks before that happens. You pay a lot of money for that first step of fertilizer. By applying it at the correct time, you will get the control that you want.

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

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