Get Growing with Gary

Yes, it’s spring, but wait to plant

Yes it is springtime, but still be careful.

Can you believe this incredible weather that we have been having lately? Daffodils are blooming, tulips are growing, lawns are greening and weeds are growing. I don’t know if you are like me, but the weather is driving me crazy. I want to plant something!

Remember, the average last frost date for Lovell is around May 20. With this date being just about a month and a half away, there are plenty of things to get ready in my garden before I plant too many things. The good thing is that I will still be able to plant a few plants, and believe me, my wife is counting the days when I will be able to move my ever increasing jungle outside.

However, before I plant anything, I need to do some work to prepare the soil first. Improving the health of the soil is probably one of the most important things that you can do for healthy plants. It can be as simple as adding organic matter, whether it is compost that you have been working since last year or adding manure. If you are adding manure, be wary of how fresh the manure is. The best manure would be from a source that has been able to sit or age over the winter. Organic matter is very important, but too fresh or hot manure can cause burning damage to plants it comes in contact with. If you have been piling up grass clippings from last year’s lawn mowing, use it in your garden.

I also add products that contain humic acid. Humic acid aids in the increased microbial activity in your soil. I have mentioned using humic acid on your lawn to help reduce the thatch buildup too. It is very beneficial in what it can do for plants in your yard.

You need to make sure that the weeds that have started to grow are killed. You can do this by the old fashioned way of hoeing to remove the weeds. When the weeds are small and have just germinated they are the easiest to control. You can use weed killers that contain glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Round-Up and can also be found in generic forms such as Kill-Zall. Remember that with such products these are non-selective vegetation killers. If it is green and gets sprayed the plant will die. Do not use glyphosate products on your lawn for it will kill the grass, too.

Most commonly, a weed and feed product is used to control emerging dandelions and other weeds in your lawn. The premise of a weed and feed is that it will control the weeds and fertilize your lawn at the same time. Weed and feeds use a common chemical called 2-4 D to kill broadleaf weeds in lawns along with other chemicals. Weed and feeds need to be applied to a wet lawn so that the chemical will stick to the leaves of the weeds. Once the chemical passes the weeds and settles on the soil, it will not kill any weeds. The most effective time for weed and feeds for your lawn is in the fall. I would recommend liquid weed killers in the spring. Read the labels because temperatures are important in weed killing. And whenever using weed killers in your lawn, DO NOT save your grass clippings for composting for at least three mowings.

Yes, there are plenty of things that you can plant in your garden if you are ready. Peas and onion sets can be planted now, as can radishes and beets. Not everything has to wait until mid-May. Certain flowers such as pansies, violas and many perennials can also be planted. Make sure to allow them to acclimate for a day or two from going from the greenhouse to being planted. We are still having cold nights and plants that have been grown in a hot greenhouse to be placed out in the cold without acclimating will usually be severely damaged.

I have a special plant growing in one of my flowerbeds. It is called Helleborus. There are several varieties of Helleborus that will bloom at various times in the early spring. It is commonly called the Lenten Rose because of its ability to bloom around Easter and that is exactly what it is doing. Spring is a time of renewal and of re-birth, and one of my favorite times of the year to watch the world around spring back to life.

If you have any gardening questions, email me at and I will answer your gardening questions with the possibility of them becoming part of an article here in the paper.

By Gary Emmett