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Garden Solutions - April 2014

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Local Blogs - Hillermann Nursery & Florist
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Vegetable gardening is making a comeback since food has made dramatic price increases over the past year. This is also because of the fact that more and more people are concerned with what they put on the family table. When you grow it yourself, you control what goes in the soil and on the plants, and you get to pick a much broader selection of vegetable varieties. The supermarket may have 2-3 varieties of tomatoes, where you can choose from dozens of varieties to plant yourself. Why are there more varieties available at garden centers? Tomatoes don't ship well, and they taste a whole lot better home grown. In fact, a tomato from your own garden is the ultimate standard for taste. Some, who grow them annually, never buy them from the supermarket, because they pale in comparison to what they can grow in the summer.

If you're thinking of growing a vegetable garden this year, you are not alone. If you're a little timid, there is help available. Start small and expand as your interest and time permits. No summertime garden is complete without tomatoes, and the perfect accompaniment to fresh tomatoes on your table is basil. If your garden has anything this year, consider both. If you want a little more, some bush cucumbers will fit in small gardens, and so will the bush summer squash varieties. Most of these bush varieties can be planted in nontraditional garden areas like flower beds or as a small addition to the landscape. In short, a vegetable garden can find its way into every area of your home's landscape. Whether it's confined to its own area, combined into the annual or perennial gardens that you already have, or planted in containers on your deck or patio - it will provide the ultimate in fresh vegetable taste, and the safest vegetables you can produce for your family table.

The lengthening of daylight also seems to brighten peoples' spirits and relieve some stress as we can now move outdoors and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. Therefore, I invite you to go outside and "dig in." Here are other areas of consideration:
• Remove winter mulch now from your rose bushes. Trim out dead and diseased canes. Cut all other green wood to about 18" on Floribunda and tea rose varieties. A 24-30" height is good on shrub roses.
• Fertilize your roses with a slow release fertilizer and begin fungicide treatments to control black spot disease.
• When Crabapples are in bloom, hardy annuals can be planted.
• Transplant trees, shrubs and perennials early in the month for best success.
• Spots and bare patches in the lawn can still be over seeded if you did not apply a Crabgrass Preventer. During spring there are more issues to be aware of when seeding a lawn rather than in the fall. Talk to a professional about seed choices and procedures.
• Easter lilies can be planted after they finish blooming. Set the bulbs 2-3" deeper then they are in the pot.
• Liquid weed control should be applied this month to control dandelions, henbit and other broadleaf weeds. New grass from seed MUST be mowed 3 times to make it strong enough to withstand weed chemicals.
• Prune spring flowering shrubs after they finish blooming.
• Asparagus and rhubarb harvests begin. Keep your hoe sharp!!
• Start cucumber, squash, cantaloupe and watermelon seeds indoors this month.
• Shrubs such as Crepe Myrtle, Butterfly Bush, and Hardy Hibiscus can be pruned back to green wood this month. REMINDER-that these plants leaf out very late (early May) and should not be considered to have died or be replaced until after Mother's Day.
• Termites begin swarming. Termites can be distinguished from ants by their thick waists and straight antennae. Ants have slender waists and elbowed antennae.
• Apply Bayer Advance Insect Control this month to control borers in shade trees and shrubs.
• Remove old tree wraps from trees planted last fall so you don't make a place for insects to harbor.
• Mole young are born in chambers deep underground.
• Protect bees and other pollinating insects. Do not spray insecticides on fruit trees that are in bloom. Bees are in danger and it is very important to be careful around them.
• Ornamental Pear trees need to be sprayed "during" the flowering stage to prevent "Fire Blight" disease.
• Water gardens may be cleaned out and the water changed. Do not scrub the walls since this will remove accumulated beneficial bacteria. Begin adding additional bacteria and barley bales now to begin the natural cycle of pond clean-up.
• Hang out hummingbird feeders the first of this month. Use a solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Change the solution frequently to keep if from fermenting. Food coloring is not needed nor is it recommended for the hummingbirds.
• The last week of April is a good time to try an early sowing of warm season crops such as green beans, sweet corn, etc. Transplants of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and sweet potatoes can also begin being planted outdoors.
• Container gardening is good choice for flower and vegetable gardening if space is in short supply. It can be done by anyone, anywhere, check it out!!
• "Natural Gardening" is a wave of the future...........keep your family safe and check out what organic options are available to you when gardening this year. There are many.

Well, time is running short...see you in the garden

Sandi Hillermann McDonald

 

 
Articles posted to the WashMo.com Local Blogs section are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of WashMo.com or WASHMO Media, LLC.

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