Bob’s Blog: Spring Into Spring

Spring will soon be springing and there’s plenty to do in the garden. So, what’s to be done at this crucial time of year? Pull up a chair and all will be revealed!

Removing Mulch

Remember that winter mulch you laid down to protect plants from low temperatures? Now that the weather’s becoming milder, you can remove the mulch a little at a time to acclimatize plants to the open air. Do this over a period of several days.

Planting Bulbs

Gladiola, dahlia and lilies will all be planted over March and April. You’ll need to wait until frosts are over before planting these tender summer bulbs, so in colder places that’ll mean April. If you plant over several weeks until June, you’ll have a continuous stream of blooming flowers throughout the summer.

Pruning Roses

March is a good time in general to be pruning roses. Get those secateurs out and cut a quarter inch above the buds. A severe pruning will not harm the roses or the amount of flowering, but will make the shrub more compact. Now that the leaf buds are just starting to open, you should spray against blackspot with a fungicide treatment.

Cut Back Your Cornus

One of the best ways to bring color into a winter garden is to plant dogwood (Cornus) or willow (Salix). From March to mid-April is the perfect time to prune these plants, as the regrowth will be stronger than if you do so in the summer.

Dividing Perennials

Perennials are divided periodically to revitalize the plant and yield more flowers. This is more pressing in some species than others. Ornamental grasses must be regularly divided to avoid them quickly dying from the center out.

Container Crops

Growing vegetables in containers mostly avoids problems with weeds and slugs, though container gardening is a bit more labor-intensive in terms of feeding and watering. In March, you can sow chilies, tomatoes and Swiss chard in containers, while April is a good time to sow carrots, lettuce and radish.

Well, time’s up again for this blog entry. Happy planting from me, Bob Allium!

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