I don’t just love Japanese maples. I adore them. Have for decades. To me, they’re the most beautiful of all trees. Interestingly, although they appear delicate, they’re actually tough as nails, and rarely suffer from pest or disease problems. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say every landscape should have at least one of them.
I think I speak for most gardeners– okay, maybe all – when I say, “What the heck. Let’s plant!” After all, it finally looks as though the cold temps are behind us, soil temps are steadily climbing, and I know we’re all dying to dig in the dirt. Plus, the forecast for next week looks downright perfect. So what the heck. Let’s plant! And that concludes my shortest post ever.
It could have been worse. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe the effects that last Saturday morning’s temperatures had on plants. It dropped to 24 degrees at my place, and I woke up early expecting to find serious damage. But later in the day, as I toured my property and numerous others in my neighborhood and elsewhere around town, I was rather pleasantly surprised.
There’s no getting around it, folks…sooner or later some of our favorite plants get attacked by pests or diseases or both. Sometimes the invaders are relatively easy to control, although that’s not always the case, which is why there are dozens of products on the market aimed at targeting and destroying them. But what if I told you there are several things you can do to discourage pests and diseases from showing up in the first place?
Funny thing about people’s plant buying habits – they tend to buy things when they’re in full bloom. That’s perfectly understandable. But if you want to enjoy the blooms over a longer period of time, you really should consider planting much earlier. And for some of the most colorful harbingers of spring, that means now.
Two significant events occur this month: daylight saving time begins on the 11th; and spring begins on the 20th. That means there’ll be more daylight in the evenings and the days will be getting longer, so we’ll all have more time to garden. Yippee! But what, exactly, should we be planting this month?
Last Sunday I spent six hours in the garden, planting 60 hills of potatoes, 80 leeks, and 120 onions, among other things. Monday morning I had a tough time getting out of bed. But I must say the discomfort I felt was strangely gratifying, because not only did I get a lot of gardening done, I also burned a lot of calories. Just how many calories, you ask?
The other night my son asked me if it was time to plant potatoes. I paused momentarily to soak in the pride I felt knowing that he, along with his younger brother, have made gardening a part of their lives. (I’m sure their sister will do likewise once she moves out of her tiny apartment in Queens, NY.) Then I turned to him and said, “Check the four-inch soil temperature.”
In the past few weeks, I’ve repeatedly heard the claim that the recent snap of cold weather means the bugs won’t be bad this year. The idea of course is that bugs can’t survive prolonged cold temperatures and therefore their populations will be greatly reduced if not eliminated entirely. But does that claim have any basis in fact?