April 25, 2011
To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay
A poem and your table of contents after an afternoon being in the garden.
It was so enjoyable and I hated to stop.
There are weeds everywhere:
2. Planting pots of spring things
3. Planting Trees and Shrubs, YES.
4. What about fertilizer?
5. Pot recycling, cool products
1. The ground is finally moist enough to really start in on those weeds. The combination of the forked tongue weed popper, the circle hoe and the weedhound are things that work for me, though it is obviously an ongoing project. Is it just me or are they particularly egregious this year? There is an interesting article in this month's Northern Gardener about what is going on in your soil when certain weeds proliferate. The website, if you are interested in subscribing, is northerngardener.org. We sell single copies at the store.
Naturally, none of us can ever get enough of the fantastic University of Minnesota's gardening extension website. Here you can find a handy weed identification guide: www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo/components/info_weeds.html. As our friend Eli says: Your tax dollars at work, use it!
2. It is still just chilly enough that we are waiting to bring out all the annuals. You can, however, plant perennials, herbs and cold tolerant annuals in a pot together. A way of thinking outside the pot, because then you can take those perennials out of the pot and plant them in the ground when it's time to spruce up the container with summer color. Speaking of perennials - have you been enjoying all the spring ephemerals, like Thalictrum thalictroides (Rue Anemone), or Trillium grandiflorum (Common/White Trillium/Wake Robin)? They take the sunshine they can get before the trees leaf out, then they tuck back into the forest floor until next year. Are they lovelier because they are fleeting?
3. YES. You may plant trees and shrubs, including fruit right now. Dig a hole twice the width of the rootball, not deeper. In most every case, better to plant too shallow than too deep.
4. What about fertilizer, indeed? More people have been getting soil tests, hooray! This also means that we have had more questions about fertilizer. (Some examples: Is manure a fertilizer? How do you increase your nitrogen? Why can't I just add compost?) We have a soil handout that you can pick up at the store for more detailed information, but the short answer is that the amount of nitrogen in a bag of manure can vary, whereas an organic fertilizer with an NPK rating will tell you exactly what you need per square foot to increase nitrogen. Manure does have nutrient value and improves texture, so if it's working for you, don't fix it. Compost is the all around: Some nutritive value, lots of texture improvement, organic matter for beneficial microorganisms.
5. Plastic plant pot recycling has begun for the season. At the back of our store by the mulch is a cart with instructions. We are bound by the strictures of the plastic recycling company, so please follow the guidelines.
Other store goings on include: beneficial bugs are in stock, a lot of veggies, two to three deliveries of plants a week now, more and more interesting local artists have brought goods to sell, and we are all trying really hard to wear an apple green tshirt or apron, so you know who works here! Happy planting and spring - enjoy your loved ones!
Hope to see you all soon.