Mid-Atlantic

April, 2012
Regional Report

Repair Leaking Hoses

The most common and overlooked garden hose leak is from the coupling at the spigot. It's also the most easily fixed. Check the female end for the necessary washer (that often falls out). Insert a new washer. If there's already one intact, it may be brittle or distorted. Remove it and replace with a new one. This simple fix reduces aggravation, eliminates wet clothing, and saves you $$$.

Prepare for Early Garden Pests

When I complained to a neighbor that slugs were eating my young kale transplants, he insisted "it's too early for pests." He's wrong. I caught very small slugs as well as medium and large sized adults in yogurt cups half-filled with cheap, diluted beer. More slip into the brew every night. Be forewarned and forearmed. Get a head start on pest control. Many survived the warm winter and will be active soon than we expect.

Fertilize Spring Bulbs

Fertilize spring-blooming perennial bulbs such as species and Darwin tulips, daffodils, allium, Anemone blanda, chionodoxa, galanthus, crocus, fritillaria, iris, and Siberian squill, while the flowers are still blooming or the leaves are still green. Apply bulb fertilizer or 10-10-10 according to directions.

Divide Overcrowded Spring Bulbs

Dividing overcrowded spring bulbs after the foliage dies will make next spring even more beautiful than this spring. Mark the overcrowded patch now as a reminder to dig up the bulbs after they've stored all the food their leaves can produce (when leaves dry up and fall off). This could be a family project. Carefully dig deep to raise up all the bulbs without damaging them. Separate them and replant each 8 to 12 inches apart in different areas.

Flame Weed the Weedy Tree Sprouts

This spring we're finding flower beds filled with hundreds of sprouting tree seeds. It's easy and expeditious to flame-weed the sprouts before they get their second set of true leaves. Doing this while they're small enough to be easily dispatched allows room for preferred perennials to fill the beds.

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