Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Garden Talks Week of March 2, 2009

Good friend Hammon Buck of Plants Unlimited in Rockport ME sent out some very timely gardening tips recently and I am going to shamelessly share them with you. Plants Unlimited is a great operation and can be found on Route 1 in Rockport as well as at http://www.plants-unlimited.com/.

*Ornamental Grasses Gone Ugly?

"If you left your ornamental grasses standing last fall to create winter interest, the beauty is probably gone now! The repeated snow and ice storms have probably flattened them and made them quite unsightly. When you can finally get to these grasses, cut them down to within an inch or two of the soil line. This will help make way for new growth in the spring!"

I have not grown any ornamental grasses in my yard. Last fall we cut down or cut away a lot of shade trees that had grown up around my once sunny back yard. One goal of mine was to create a better landscaping situation where I can grow more "edible" plants such as more blueberries, raspberries, etc. BUT also I would like to try some ornamental grasses to highlight certain areas. Let me know at info@skillins.com or comment below as to some neat ornamental grasses you have tried and like in your landscape!

*Great Fruit Production Starts in March!

"March is the ideal time to prune your fruit trees while they are still dormant ( before the buds show any green). Take out any dead and winter-damaged wood, suckers at the base and branches that rub against one another. Then, thin out the interior so it's not crowded or twiggy. Finally, shape the tree overall to maintain a healthy, pleasant stature."

Awesome advice. Terry Skillin also wants to remind you that the end of March or beginning of April is a good time to start your dormant oil program. We sell some very safe sprays for your fruit trees that will help combat insect and disease and combined with good pruning as discussed above will mean a great yield of fruit.

*Where Did I Put the Crocus?

"Watch for crocus and snowdrops in protected and warmer areas of your garden. If mulch or lingering snow is hiding them or smothering them, gently push some of this away. They might need help with late snowstorms too but once they push their heads up, they will brighten up your yard! These early bloomers are amazingly resilient!"

Not bad advice. For the most part I don't worry about snow holding back my little bloomers. The timing usually works out fine--especially once that early Spring sun gets to work melting that snow!

*Cold Frames Really Extend the Season!

If you have a cold frame or are thinking of making one, early spring is the time to think about getting it started! Little seedlings can be raised and acclimated in its shelter allowing you to soon move some of your seedlings from your house to the cold frame. Early cold crops like lettuce, broccoli and others will withstand some cooler temperatures.

*Summer Flowering Bulbs

"If you stored tender bulbs such as glads, dahlias and begonias, check on them now. Get rid of any that show signs of mold or rot, as well as any that are shriveled. Brush off any loose dirt and return them to storage bags or sacks. Sprinkle a little bit of fungicide powder in the bag if rot has been a problem."

It may be early for the glads and dahlias but I would get the begonias started. We sell biodegradable pots that you can plant them into for easy transplant later. Also I heartily recommend all natural Bar Harbor Blend potting soil by Coast of Maine Organics as the soil to use. Get those begonias going NOW for all season beautiful color!

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