Tim's Weekly Column

February 21, 2019

Well, we seem to be in a snowy weather pattern. Thankfully it hasn’t been a lot of snow. Yet, we still have to keep the shovel and ice melt handy to clean up the mess.

The one thing that I have noticed in the gardening community is a sense of being so anxious for spring to get here. The problem is that it is a little bit early for starting most plants from seed. Of course, this means starting the seeds indoors. At this point in time, you could start onions from seed. You can start leeks from seeds. You could start geraniums and pansies from seed. If you are going to grow tomatoes, peppers and other warmth loving vegetables, you will be successful growing heathy, strong transplants if you start the seed about 8 weeks before you would put the plants into the garden. If you go by the traditional outdoor planting time of Memorial Day, then you would be starting seeds the end of March. My advice is don’t rush the seed starting season. The vast majority if the time you will windy up having tall spindly plants that won’t do well in the garden.

If you would like a bit of spring color in your home, forcing some of your spring flowering shrubs can do it. Certain spring flowering shrubs will come into bloom in your home if you bring some of the branches into the house and put the branches into a vase of water. Here’s what you need to do.

Find yourself a tall vase. If you don’t have one you can usually find them at a thrift store for short money. Get out your pruning shears that you sharpened before you put them away in the fall. Well, if you didn’t sharpen them then now would be a good time to do so. But I digress. If you have a forsythia shrub in your yard, go out and cut off about 18 inches of the tips of the branches. You will probably need about 4 to 6 branches for a good showing of blooms. Bring the branches into the home and place them in the vase. Fill the vase with water and keep the vase in a warm area. It is often helpful to change the water every few days. Depending on the temperatures in your home it may take 10 days to 2 weeks for those branches to burst into bloom. Sometimes you will get blooms on the branches in fewer days and sometime you will get them to bloom later. You can also get flowering quince to come into bloom in your home. You will find that forcing branches in the home works best with deciduous shrubs that bloom in April to early May. If you get a few vases, you can experiment with trying different shrub branches. Keep in mind that if you cut too many branches off of any one shrub you are decreasing the number of flowers that you will get this spring.

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



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