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Master Your Garden: Prepping for Spring

by Barbara Kozlowski, Master Gardener, CCE

I thought maybe spring was here to stay, but no! We have another shot at the winter weather and those poor daffodils, crocuses plus other early spring flowering bulbs and flowers, besides the bulbs that have grown several inches with the warm temperatures. Hope the cold temperatures don’t harm this growth. One reason not to fully clean out your gardens. Last fall’s leaves, etc. protect new growth from any possible late frost. Welcome to Western New York gardening!

I bet you thought about starting a few seedlings to get a jump-start on your gardens. I have in the past started seeds under grow lights around this time and found it is way too early, unless you also have a greenhouse to keep the seedlings once they have begun developing their true leaves. May 1 is soon enough to start, given that Memorial Day is the projected last frost time.

So, wait another week or two unless the seedlings you are starting have a long germination time and you use row covers to protect anything growing in the ground. Peas are one exception and like very cool weather to grow in. Peas can be directly planted into your prepared garden any time in the next few weeks.

While we’re waiting for spring to arrive, take time to get your tools sharpened and cleaned for the season ahead. It’s also a good time to wash out any containers you plan to use for flowers and/or vegetables. Use a mild detergent, bleach and warm water to scrub them and rid them of last year’s soil and possible contaminants. Rinse and dry thoroughly, and they’ll be ready when your plants are. Dirty tools can easily spread undesirable molds and diseases to new plants. This important to do for houseplants as well. This procedure will also rid your containers of any unwanted insects and their eggs from growing in those containers.

Another spring project to think about is planning what you want to grow in a garden or in containers. This is the time to research what plants do best in sun, shade or partial sun/partial shade. Or you want to try growing vegetables in containers? If you plan to grow vegetables, how much room will you need, are you growing vegetables for immediate use or would you want to can or freeze them for eating after the growing season is over?

There is so much to think about and planning what you want to grow and how much time do you actually want to spend gardening is another factor relevant to what you will be planting.  You have time to plan.

Plan on coming to Gardening Day, sponsored by the Master Gardeners of Catt Co on May 17. It’s free!. Just call the Master Gardener office at (716) 699-2377, ext. 127, for additional information or look for flyers throughout the village.

Bring any questions and/or concerns you may have. You can also call the MG Hotline at the above number with any questions you have now. Leave a message if no one answers and your call will be returned. Have fun with your gardening!

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