Mid-Atlantic

April, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Veggies in Succession

Many of us plant vegetable seeds such as spinach, lettuce, bok choy, beets, beans, Swiss chard, collard greens, and radishes in stages. We sow several rows to harvest early. Then two weeks later, we plant another few rows that will be fresh and tasty when the first batch is on the wane. If the weather's not too hot and space permits, we may plant a third crop.

Mark Crowded Daffodil Clusters to Divide Later

When you notice concentrated clusters of daffodils, mark those spots with short bamboo or plastic stakes. After the flowers bloom and the foliage dies, you'll want to dig up and divide the bulbs. Replant and fertilize those bulbs throughout the garden and in new spots for surprises next spring.

Carefully Read Info on Seed Packets

Most vegetable, annual, herb and perennial seed packets have the details you need to germinate and successfully plant and raise the plants described. Take time to read the information. You'll learn whether to start seeds indoors or out, when to plant - in sun or shade, how deep and far apart to plant seed, how long for germination, how far apart to transplant seedlings, height at maturity, when to harvest. Some packs are decorated with a drawing of the seedling for identification. Others include cooking or culinary use tips. There may be a phone number and website URL to help with questions.

Put Lilium Bulblets Back Inground

I'm noticing lots of lily bulbs and small bulblets have risen to the garden bed's surface. They're bulbs of the Oriental, Asiatic, Martagon, American, and Trumpet lilies. The plants are usually single-stemmed and produce several buds that bloom in early summer and later. Replant these surface bulbs about six inches deep, so they'll take strong root and bloom this season.

Pull Mulch and Leaves Away from Trees and Shrubs

Winter debris has accumulated and will start decomposing with the warmer weather. Pull away the mulch and leaves that have collected in lower shrub branches and at the tree's base. Moist, decomposing leaves and wood mulch can cause rot in a tree trunk or shrub branch that it's touching.

Acclimatize New Plant Purchases

Annuals, vegetables, herbs and other nursery-grown plants are not likely to have been hardened off to tolerate cold weather before arriving at the local nursery or garden center. They're used to warm, moist, comfy greenhouse surroundings - likely 70 to 80 degrees. Ease them into the fluctuating outdoor temperatures, especially the cool nights. And protect them from direct sun till they get acclimated. Put them outside in a shady spot during warm days. Bring them at night. Do this for a few weeks, increasing sun exposure - or till you see the plant is adjusting. Use common sense. Bring them indoors when there's threat of frost - which can be through Mother's Day.

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