When I hear people say, “This is the weekend when I am going to plant my garden,” it makes me wonder which garden? Because this weekend it may only be safe enough to plant “cold-crops” such as pansies and other perennial flowers, or vegetables like cabbage, broccoli or brussels-sprouts, or seeds such as radishes, carrots, lettuce or spinach. Onion sets and seed potatoes can be put out as soon as you can dig in your garden and it is certainly safe to put out roses and many other perennial, flowering plants. But only if those plants have been “hardened-off” which means that they have grown outdoors in weather that may be a lot colder than those plants that are grown inside a greenhouse. Plants that come directly from a protected place such as inside a greenhouse or more likely, from inside the warm interior of one of those “big-box” stores are more likely to suffer damage from drastic temperature drops, especially from frost and freeze even though they are winter hardy plants.

And if this is the weekend that you are going to plant a garden, then when are you going to plant your tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and all of those beautiful annual flowers such as impatiens, begonias, coleus and many others that cannot tolerate any frost at all? I am thinking that you must work on your garden, now at least two times. And then there are those plants that do not just grow poorly in cold, frosty weather but that cannot stand temperature that go below 50 degrees. These include melons, cucumbers and squash. Looks like a third trip to the garden in late May.

Once all of your plants are planted in the ground, or planters and window boxes, there are a lot of maintenance jobs that you must do throughout the summer season. These include watering and fertilizing, “dead-heading” (cutting off all of those dead blossoms), cutting back overgrown plants and of course, weeding. Keeping up with those pesky weeds is probably the most important job of all. “Don’t let weeds turn to seeds” or your problems will get totally out of hand.

Now I do not mean to make gardening sound like a lot of work, on the contrary, it is supposed to be relaxing and therapeutic and can be as simple and fast as you let it be.

Tips for fun gardening include: getting the soil prepared to perfection, using the right weed killers and preventers before planting your plants, buying healthy garden plants and not planting them outside before it’s time. Doing just a little bit of gardening each night after dinner or every other night and maybe a little catch up work one hour or so on the weekend will make your gardening very easy. Usually gardening gets out of control during a vacation, especially the weeds.

The Waynedale News Staff

Doug Hackbarth - Broadview Florist & Greenhouses

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