The Great Outdoors


Well, totally unlike last year’s spring season, this year’s spring gardening is off to a very slow start. In 2012 we experienced temperatures in the middle to high 80s in March, repeated again and again in April. This year frankly, it is cold! What happened? I have always preached the theory that spring season (not actual spring) begins around the 21st of April, and even then it’s too early for many plants. It’s on the 21st that I make the decision as to whether or not to make available all of the garden plants to the public. With this year’s forecast it looks as though we are going to need to wait until the 25th to decide.

I can remember one spring when on the 30th of April (my daughter’s birthday) we had our plants on sale outside when we got around an inch of snow! Sure I could have covered them and even run a portable heater BUT the wind was blowing about 42 to 45 miles an hour…all night long. The covers blew off faster than I could put them on. It was at that time I decided not to let the “public” tell me when it was time to sell the plants, but to use my best judgement. We did make a few important changes to our methods that year.

Now remember, it is safe to plant pansies, perennial shrubs, trees and flowers as well as all of the “cold” crops such as broccoli, cabbage, onions, lettuce (from seed or plants), Brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower and many, many seeds such as beets, lettuce, radishes, spinach, peas and carrots, etc. The biggest problem at this time is that the garden soil is so wet. And these days still covered with snow!

Spring is a great time for lawn fertilizer. As the broad-leaf weeds come on, make plans to apply weed-and-feed, but don’t get the wrong idea about dandelions…you will still have them because in order to prevent dandelions, you must apply the weed-and-feed in the fall. There are lots of pre-planning chores one must do when you are a real gardener. Best example is right now while you are viewing other people’s tulips, hyacinths and daffodils…these bulbs are planted in the fall, not in the spring. Gardening is all about planning ahead.


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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer