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Uncover your roses and strawberries

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By Dennis Morgeson

This week I have several things I wanted to let everyone know about, as well as some gardening chores that should or should not be done now.  It is time to uncover roses and strawberries but you should keep your mulch or covering material handy especially for the strawberries in case we have a late spring freeze.  After pulling the covering off of the roses you should incorporate a ½ cup or so of 10-10-10 around each bush to give them a little extra boost for their spring flush.  After about four weeks give them another dose to keep them fed.  It takes a lot of energy for roses to give that spectacular spring display!  Don’t fertilize strawberries now or in the spring, wait until after they quite producing and then renovate the beds and fertilize sometime in July.

After uncovering your roses assess the shrubs and cut anything that is diseased, dead, or damaged out.  This will get rid of some disease pressure, make the shrubs look better, and it will give them a little extra incentive to speed growth and form new shoots off the bud union or from the base.  Also keep an eye out for aphids and black spot.  It is a good idea to start a spray program early on roses to keep problems from getting started.  With roses it’s easier to prevent problems than to control them after they start.

If you haven’t sprayed a dormant oil spray or even a lime sulfur spray for peach leaf curl it’s too late.  Wait until after the fruit trees have finished blooming and apply a multi-purpose fruit tree spray and follow label directions.  Never spray fruit trees while they are in bloom, you don’t want to kill the bees that are doing the good work or pollination.

Keep an eye on your asparagus it is popping through the ground and may get too large too quick before you get a chance to munch on it.  If the spears come through the ground and start to lean on one side you have asparagus beetle already nibbling on it and you may have to give it a dose of sevin.   Be  sure you follow the label and wait the proper time before eating it however.

The Springfield/Washington County Community Garden is tilled and ready to plant (when dry enough) and anyone interested in having a plot should call me at 336-7741 to claim their spot.   It’s free but I do need to assign the plots.  If you had a plot last year you still need to call and claim your garden.

The Washington County Garden club is starting up again and is taking new membership.  It costs $10 to join and we already have a few things lined up.  In April we are going to the Cincinnati Flower Show on Tuesday April 21, and we are having a plant swap on Thursday April 23 at the Extension Office.  In May we are meeting at Mama’s Touch Nursery and we will be receiving a special discount for that night only!  On June 11, the Garden Club members will be attending the Wheelbarrow Class on planting drought tolerant containers.  The rest of the summer hasn’t been planned yet and if you would like to attend or find out more call me at 336-7741.

New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future is running a Green Pioneer Home Campaign to get more people involved in living “green”.  Basically homeowners agree to sign their homes up by selecting a few things that they can do to be greener.  Examples include switching light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent to conserve energy (this is something personally I have done as the incandescent bulbs go bad), recycle plastic, glass, and paper through the county recycling program, use reusable grocery bags instead of the plastic, buy local food, and even grow some of your own food.  There are dozens of things you can do and all of which help our local economy and our planet.  If everyone takes a few small steps toward “greener” living we all can live on a greener healthier planet!  We are trying to get 500 people to join this campaign before Earth Day which is April 22.  We currently have 220 homes enrolled.  Once you join and its free you get a sticker to put on your mailbox that states you are a Green Pioneer Home!  For more information and to join call New Pioneers for A Sustainable Future at 859-336-5070.

On April 20 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Dr. Sandra Bastin from the University of Kentucky is going to be at the Washington County Extension Office to teach a class on Micro-processing.  This means that if you take this class and pass the test at the end of the day you will be certified to sell processed foods at farmers markets, roadside stands, and from your farm.  Processed food includes canned vegetables, salsa, ketchup, barbecue sauce, etc.  For more information call the extension office at 859-336-7741.

The Washington County Farmers Market is set to open on May 9, at 8 a.m.; it’s a good time to start planting for spring and planning for summer crops.  If you would like to sell at the farmers market, call Kathy Elliott at the Springfield City Hall at 859-336-5440.