May 2nd, 2021

There are times in the spring that our lawns seem lumpy. It is best to leave the lawn along and with rain and frost coming out of ground it should be come better. Earthworms sometimes create the bumps but they are beneficial. They are aerators of the soil. If it really does need to be leveled, it is recommended to be done in the fall. With our area soils being heavy, using a roller in the spring will compact the soil especially when the days become drier. It can become like 'concrete'.

Plant a tree. The benefits of a tree:

  • 1) provides oxygen for us to breathe
  • 2) are aesthetically pleasing
  • 3) increase home value
  • 4) reduce home energy costs
  • 5) clean the air of pollutants
I will go into more detail in an upcoming article.

April 12th, 2021

Now is the time to remove tree wrap from your overwintered trees. There should be no tree wrap or any other plastic, burlap or other material around the trunk of the tree during the active growing season

If you are going to plant potatoes, now is a good time. Quarter the potatoes so at least 1 eye is on each piece. Let the potato pieces sit out in a dry area for 2 days. This will form a 'crust' that will help reduce any pathogens from entering your planted potato once in the ground. Be sure the eyes are facing up and plant 8 to 10 inches deep

If your garden is ready, cole crops like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and head lettuce can be planted now. They will take lower night temps but if it gets down in the low 30's it would be a good idea to cover them for that night.

If you have a Hydrangea shrub or tree and the blooms were not cut off last fall, now is the time to do this. Cut just below the blossom and above where buds are visible.

Do not be too anxious to put out tomatoes. Tomatoes are a 'warm season' crop which means we need consistent warm temps and the soil needs to be warm. Keep in mind that May 15th is considered the average first frost free day for our area. I have found the best results is to plant tomatoes the week of Memorial Day. If planted too soon they are more vulnerable to chilly nights and damp soils.

April 5th, 2021

Looks like Spring is coming. It is important to have your gardening tools, equipment and containers ready to use. It is a good idea to make sure your equipment like lawn mowers and cleaned and ready to go. Have the blades sharpen.

Gardening tools should be cleaned. Metal tools may need a light sanding or use steel wool to get rust off of them. Make sure handles are secure.

Containers should be clean. Wash with a detergent and dry well. You may need to scrap off old residue also.

Remember to rake your lawn once the grass begins to grow. Raking too soon will pull some of the dormant grass out of your lawn and make for bare spots.

May 8th, 2020

Next few nights are going to be chilly. In order to protect your plants you can do the following:

Your planted containers: just cover the plants with a sheet if you have no way to get them inside. Be sure to cover in the evening before the temperatures dip too low.

Plants in the garden: cover them also with a sheet. Again do it early enough in the evening before the temps dip too low

Hanging baskets that are outside ? Best to bring them inside.

Be sure to take the covers off during the day so the plants can take advantage of the sunshine but cover again for the next chilly night.

Continue this covering and uncovering routine UNTIL night temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have cool-tolerant annuals like violas and pansies, these plants will do fine in the cool temps. No need to cover them.

April 20th, 2020

1 – if your lawn has greened up, it is time to rake it. Be careful when you rake so as only rake debris out and not a lot of grass.

2 – if you are giving gardening a try this year, you can plant onion plants and potatoes now IF your soil is dry and not wet. When planting onions just barely cover the onion bulb with soil. Do not rake soil back up over the onion since onions grow with the bulb part above the ground. The 'bulb' part, the part you eat, is actually a stem. Cut potatoes into quarters making sure there is at least one 'eye' per piece. Let the pieces partially dry on your counter for a couple of days unless a thin 'callus' occurs on the cut portion of the potato. It will no longer be wet but appear dry. Plant 6 inches deep with the 'eye' facing up

3 – when planting your containerized trees this year, be sure to add amendments to the soil. We suggested composted manure and sphagnum peat that is mixed with the excavated soil and used as the backfill. When you purchase your trees the sales person will be able tell you other specifics of planting the tree like how much to water, how deep to plant, seasonal care and preparations for winter

April 13th, 2020

Maybe this is the year to try growing some of your own vegies?  It is a healthy activity, nutritious, economical and fun.  Below are some ideas:

1 – An area that you may plant will need to have the grass, weeds and debris completely gone.  Be sure the soil is dry.   Wet sticky soil will make it hard to work with.

2 – Add organic matter by spading in the material to a depth of about 6 to 8 inches.  Smooth out the area after spading.  You need a level soil bed to plant a garden.

3 – Many vegetables can be purchased at the garden center, already growing in a container and ready to go.  Examples of these would be tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and eggplant.  Be sure to check with the staff on timing of when to plant since some plants need to go in the ground sooner than others.  Others need to go in the ground once the soil has warmed.  Example:  tomatoes will be later in May where cauliflower will probably be late April.  Again ask for specifics and it all depends on our weather.

4 – With the weather we are having, maybe SNOWPEAS would be a good choice this year.  LOL, LOL, LOL !

5 – Many vegetables can be started by planting seeds directly in the garden.  Examples would be cucumbers, squash, sweet corn, string beans, peas, carrots, radishes and leaf lettuce.  Again depending on the type of seed, they are planted at different times.  Example would be carrots are planted earlier than sweet corn.

For more specific information on spacing, plant timing and culture you can ask at the garden center.

Happy planting and a bountiful harvest!


April 7th, 2020

We should wait to rake our yards until they ‘green up’.  Raking now will uproot many grass plants.

Interested in protecting pollinator homes?  .  .  .  . here are a few ideas

1 – are there any areas in your yard were you can leave alone?  Avoid raking, blowing, pruning, bagging and hauling away the debris in this area. Leaving this biomass alone will help  diminish important certain important insect ‘hangouts’

2 – do not cut down stems TOO early in the spring.  Many helpful insects like lacewings, small native bees and syrphid flies overwinter in these stems.  When you do cut down the stems, leave about 1 foot of stem to stay in place as potential ‘homes’ for overwintering insects the following winter

3 – many beneficial insects overwinter in leaf litter, such as some butterflies as well as eggs and larvae.  Wait to remove leaf litter until temperatures warm to be steadily above 50 degrees F.  leave a thin layer of leaf litter as a way to retain moisture and adding organic material to the soil

4 – try to maintain SOME open soil where soil burrowing insects make their ‘home’

5 – check woody materials before pruning.  There are several moths and butterflies that overwinter as chrysalis and cocoons on these branches.

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