Patience This Spring

April was another below average temperature month and sure enough, we had a snow storm on April 15th. The high for the month was around 70ºF and the low dropped into the mid-teens. Here at the Garden Center, the cold nights had us running for cover on some tender container plants. Annuals and warm blooded vegetables need to wait until the last weekend of May before planted outside in the garden or container.

What I love most about May is it begins looking almost like winter with most trees still waiting to flush out. The month ends at full leaf looking and feeling much like summer.

This year’s theme and focus in the garden is a more edible landscape that will feature replacing landscape trees shrubs and perennials that have weakened or have overgrown their spot with plants such as beech plum, blueberries, amelanchier, elderberry, paw paw, mulberry, cranberry, strawberry, chokeberry, gooseberry, hickory and hawthorne. Also, instead of planting annuals in the garden we should try finding spots instead for carrot, sunflower, lettuce, organic corn, cucumber, grapes, radishes and columbine. Vegetables will grow just as happy in colony plantings instead of planting in straight rows. Colony planting or mass planting looks more natural.

Now is a good time to get our containers ready for spring. Container gardening has a very wide spectrum. Bonsai, specimen planting, fruits, vegetables and vines can all be planted in containers around the property. From shade to sun and everything in between, container gardening can be set up to accommodate all cultural settings. Freeze tolerant containers that will not crack are a must in our area. The most decorative containers are made of wood, concrete and stone. Clay and ceramic containers tend to break apart when the cold and the ice settles in. A light soil mix with sand, some humus, or leaf mold works for plants that need a dryer container soil.

I’m finding the garden soil, in low lying areas, still too wet to work and plant in. Working wet soil disrupts the air holding capacity and compacts the soil and can choke plants to death. The soil should be ready in about a week. Patients in the garden this spring.

Pete and the Natives