- Protection is important, especially in places where June brings storms with hail and strong wind and rain. Have a supply of plastic milk cartons with the bottom cut out to protect transplanted seedling should inclement weather arise. Use cloches or hooped covers to protect seedlings from storms. Anchor any protection well so it doesn’t blow away.
- Watering can also be critical, Seedlings quickly succumb to dry soil so check soil conditions frequently and be sure they get enough water. Newly germinated plants require delicate watering … consider a mister nozzle. Thoroughly watering garlic and onions now will mean bigger, better bulbs later. Water deeply planted veggies like tomatoes thoroughly to encourage early growth.
- Practice succession planting. If your lettuce has been in a week or two, it’s time to plant more. Heat resistant varieties of greens are best for planting now. A second planting of bush beans put in the ground once the first planting has emerged will help extend your harvests.
- Mow frequently enough to remove no more than 1/3 of the blade at a time. Maintain 3 inch mowing height.
- Prune spring blooming if not done already – azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, spirea.
- Removing spent blooms. “Deadheading” will encourage some perennials to rebloom and keep annuals blooming all summer. Besides, the garden looks better without those dead flowers and seed heads.
- Thinning out fruit trees. Apples, pears and peaches should be thinned before the fruit is larger than a nickel. Remove excess fruit until fruits are 4 to 6 inches apart.
- Vegetables need a regular supply of fertilizer. Apply light doses of nitrogen – containing fertilizer 5 or 6 weeks after planting.
- Have extra seed? Don’t just leave it in the package on a shelf in your garage. Most seed will survive a season or more if kept in a tightly closed glass jar. You can help keep those seeds dry by folding up some milk powder inside a small square of paper towel and including it in the jar.
- Get ready to transplant cool season crops (onions, leeks, spinach, etc.) into your garden by hardening them off and moving them outside once daytime temperatures are reliably above 45 degrees F.
- Start your warm season crops (tomatoes, peppers, and curcurbits) indoors for transplanting in mid-June, once the threat of frost has passed.
- Build raised beds to reduce the amount of bending you need to do to maintain your garden.
- Plan for a healthy gardening season by making sure your tools are clean, sharp, and designed for a full season of comfortable use. Consider a 3-or-4 wheeled wheelbarrow to make hauling materials easier on your back. Be sure you have well-fitting gloves, sunscreen and insect repellant that hasn’t expired, and a sun had that keeps your face and neck in the shade.
- Finish up your spring pruning.
Best plants for our area are large variety of perennials such as a creeping phlox, dianthus, creeping thyme, stonecrop, and violets, which make excellent ground covers.
For all season long color, interplant hardy perennials like:
- Bee balm
- Russian sage
- Butterly weed
For Shady Gardens, try hosta coral bells, ferns, bleeding heart, Jacob’s Ladder, hellebore, foxglove, monkshood, spiderwort
Vegetables and herbs that should be planted from April to May include: Celery, Chives, Okra, Onions, Parsnips. Those that should be planted from May to June include: bush and pole beans sweet corn, late cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, endive, leeks, peppers, pumpkin, rutabaga summer and winter squash, tomatoes.
WHAT IS FROST
Frost is simply frozen condensation. It occurs at temperatures below freezing, i.e. 32F and 0C.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT PLANTS FROM FROST?
Essentially, you just need to cover your plant with some kind of material to trap warm air around your plants so that temperatures stay a few degrees above those outside the cover. You can throw almost anything over your plants as long as it doesn’t squish them and you take it off in the morning.
CONSIDER PLANTING FROST RESISTANT PLANTS
Not all plants are as susceptible to damage from frost. Some plants can protect themselves from a light frost by increasing the sugar content within their cells.
The increased sugar lowers the freezing point of the water in the cells just enough to protect the cell walls from damage, and these plants will actually taste better if they are grown through a frost!
WAYS TO PROTECT PLANTS FROM FREEZING TEMPERATURES
If your first frost is a few weeks away, then you still have time to build a low tunnel or cold frame. However, sometimes frost warnings pop up unexpectedly and you might not be ready with a low tunnel or cold frame.
A LOW TUNNEL
A low tunnel is a short greenhouse tunnel placed over your plants. They are usually only 2-4 feet tall. You create a low tunnel by placing hoops every few feet and covering the entire bed or row with plastic or agricultural fabric.
The covering works by trapping warm air under the tunnel to raise the temperature a few degrees which protects your plants from frost overnight.
During periods of warm days and cool nights, you may need to open the ends of the low tunnel during the day to let out some heat. This is especially true if you decide to go with plastic sheeting.
Low tunnels are one of the best ways to grow more food during colder months. They can be customized to fit the length and width of your garden bed and are easily stored when not in use.
BUILD A COLD FRAME
A cold frame is basically a small greenhouse that can be placed over your a garden bed. Cold frames can be built with scrap lumber and old windows.
However, it doesn’t need to be that complicated. It can be as simple as setting some hay bales around your plants and placing a window on top.
A cold frame provides excellent insulation and protection from wind and cold weather. However, while there are many uses for cold frames, this type of frost protection does limit your growing space. And, depending on the construction, the walls can block some of the light that your plants receive.
For these reasons, a cold frame is most appropriately used for small garden beds.
USE A PLANT CLOCHE
A cloche is a tiny greenhouse you place over individual plants. This is a great option if you have just a few seedlings or small plants in the garden that need protection.
They are usually made of plastic or glass and may be rigid or flexible.
All cloches should have some venting so that they don’t cook the plants the next day. Otherwise, make sure you’re out there as early as possible to remove the cloche before the sun comes up.
DIDN’T PLAN AHEAD? YOU HAVE SEVERAL QUICK OPTIONS TO PROTECT YOUR PLANTS.
Basically, you can cover them with anything you have on hand. For individual plants, grab a bucket, flowerpot, or even a cardboard box to put over them for the night.
If your plants are sturdy, you can lay garden fleece, burlap sack, blanket, tarp, or sheet right on top of the garden bed.
If your plants are small and fragile enough that laying a blanket right on top of them could break the stems, then use stakes or blocks to provide some support underneath your cover.
Remember to pull the cover off in the morning or you might smother your plants.
DON’T HAVE A COVER? LEAVE A SPRINKLER RUNNING OVERNIGHT
Keeping your plants wet can actually protect them from freezing. Be sure to read this first before trying a sprinkler.
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5 Easy Ways to Find the Absolute Best Tree on the Lot
- Know your measurements! The most important thing is to measure the tree to make sure it will fit the space in your home. Measure your room and bring your measuring tape with you so you don’t pick a tree that’s too big!
- Test for freshness: Take a branch in your hand and gently pull along the branch. If the tree is fresh, it should retain its needles.
- Then test for freshness another way: Another test is to tap the base on the ground and see if needles shake off the tree. If only a few fall off the tree, it is fresh.
- Check the needles: You should also check the pliability of the needles. A fresh tree’s needle should be pliable and not break in half in your hand.
- If you’re seeing spots, keep looking: If the tree has a musty smell or brown spots, the tree is sick or was cut a long time ago, so move on to the next one.
Balsam vs Fraser
The Fraser fir and Balsam fir are closely related and share many characteristics. Both trees make excellent Christmas trees for their needle retention, deep green color, ideal shape, and pleasing scent. However, depending on your preferences, there are subtle differences which might make your buying decision easier!