March 23, 2012
As in, forsythias in bloom?
Spectacular magnolias all over the Twin Cities
Indeed, indeed, and what does it all mean?
Of course, we have no idea.
Will it stay this warm? Maybe. Will it freeze?
As we humans do every year, we deal with whatever comes our way. There are a few things that definitely can be done, and a few things we should just hold the reins on for a second.
In this edition:
1. The YES list
2. The NO list
3. Audubon, Classes and other news
The YES list:
-If you are interested in corn gluten meal, the non-toxic pre-emergent weed treatment, now is the time to put it down. It's explanation is somewhat lengthy, if you have not tried it before. Best come in and ask anyone at the store. The U of M gardening extension website has a primer: corn gluten meal.
(You cannot seed your lawn for the six weeks that corn gluten remains viable.)
-Start seeds indoors: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, many annual flowers, herbs, especially basil.
-Fertilize and trim back houseplants
-Gather some soil and send it to the U for a soil test. There are instant kits for sale as well.
-Go ahead and clean the crunchy evergreens out of your containers and pick up your yard.
See the NO list for walking in your gardens.
-Cut back the dead branches on perennials that you left for winter interest, prune out dead and decayed branches on shrubs and trees. If they haven't already leafed out, and many have - dogwood, honeysuckle, smokebush, sand cherry, barberry, ninebark, these types of foliage shrubs are typically pruned in early spring. Since this is crazy spring, we'll have to see how it all works out. Don't prune azalea, forsythia, lilac, cherry, flowering plum, serviceberry or magnolia until after they bloom.
-Investigate your compost. Give it a turn.
-Resurrect your rain barrel.
-Build or set up your back saving, weed controlling raised bed!
-Turn on your water, set up the hose, or admit that you left it out all winter and check for leaks.
-Put a delicious layer of worm castings or compost on your raised bed or vegetable patch.
-Rake out a layer of leaves. One at a time. Careful with those teeny plants under there. And remember that not all plants respond to warm weather to come out of dormancy. Some are hooked into length of day and that kind of subtlety. Don't freak out yet. That said, remind yourself that last fall was a long drought. Brace yourself for some fallout.
-You can try putting grass seed down - soil temps in the sun are pretty warm, not so much in shady spots yet. Put some straw over it for bird and mud control.
-Plant some violas! We've got 'em and they are cute as ever. Many of you know that Rush Creek and Green Earth Growers do not use growth regulators, so our annuals are ready when they are ready! To the uninitiated, Oregon State defines a growth regulator as: "chemicals that affect flowering; aging; root growth; distortion and killing of leaves, stems, and other parts; prevention or promotion of stem elongation; color enhancement of fruit; prevention of leafing and/or leaf fall; and many other conditions".
The NO List:
-We say it every year, but if you walk all over your wet garden, you will compact the soil and be bummed later. That's all we will say on that subject.
-Don't put all your yard waste in those plastic lawn and leaf bags you bought a million of at Costco last year. Minneapolis no longer accepts plastic, non-compostable bags for yard waste. We carry the paper ones and are on the hunt for a good compostable plastic.
-Don't start putting your houseplants outside.
-Don't even think about tomatoes outside unless you've built yourself some kind of fancy backyard hothouse.
NEWS and STUFF:
From our Audubon friends,
Audubon Spring Bird Seed Sale
You are invited to stock up on sunflower seed for your spring bird feeding during Audubon Minnesota's upcoming bird seed sale. Ninety-five cents of every dollar raised during this fundraiser supports Audubon's bird and habitat conservation work in Minnesota.
Orders must be prepaid by April 6. Seed will be available for customer pickup on Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 9 am to noon at Mother Earth Gardens, Minneapolis and the Minnesota Valley National Refuge, Bloomington. Go to mn.audubon.org for order forms. Questions? Email us at email@example.com.
Audubon Minnesota is dedicated to conserving and restoring natural ecosystems in Minnesota, focusing on at-risk native bird species and their habitats. This fundraiser is made possible through the generosity of Performance Seed in St. Cloud, MN.
Perhaps I did not adequately describe our one free seminar that is not currently full with a waiting list:
Delve Into 2012: New Plants from Rush Creek Growers.
In this presentation, you will be the first to see all the new creations by plant breeders across the country (nee around the world). Or at least the ones we will be carrying at the store.
Oh the combinations. The beautiful pictures, the aspirations! Our fantastic presenter, Vicky Weis, has a warm, engaging, casually professional speaking style that will have you wrapped around her finger in no time.
If you would like to attend the class on Tuesday evening, March 27th at 7pm, RSVP required at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It will be held across the street from Mother Earth Gardens at the Riverview Wine Bar.
Hope to see you all soon.