If you have been trying to garden lately, you know that the cool wet spring so far is slowing us down as well as our plants. Don’t complain though. Just as easy as the rains are coming now, it could soon stop for a long hot summer, so let’s just enjoy the rain while we have it. Who knows, we might even get rain for the entire growing season!
While hunting Easter eggs this past weekend I thought about some things that many of you might not have gotten to this year. First, have you given your flowerbeds a good weeding this spring? I haven’t and boy is my work cut out for me! The primary weeds are henbit, chickweed, ground ivy and wild garlic or onions. I have had several calls on how to control these in flower gardens and basically most people want a “silver bullet” herbicide but there just isn’t one for a flower bed jammed with perennials and annuals of numerous species. So, enjoy the first spring weeding experience and be happy you are getting some exercise! Now, if you are just absolutely not going to do hand weeding, you can always dab individual weeds with roundup, but be careful, roundup will kill flowers as well as weeds. If you have just a perennial bed and aren’t worried about new seedlings coming up ‘preen’ can be applied to flower beds in the fall and again in March to keep henbit and chickweed from germinating.
If you haven’t been out to your asparagus patch, you better get to it. Asparagus is popping up and on warm days can grow really fast making it too tough and old to eat. Remember, you can harvest asparagus until the shoots emerging from the soil are just about as big around as a pencil. Another way to keep up with if you can continue to harvest is by the age of the planting. If your asparagus is one year old, you can harvest for one week. If it’s two years old you can harvest for two weeks. If it’s three years old or older ,you can harvest for up to six weeks or until the spears are the size of a pencil.
If your asparagus is at least a couple years old and still isn’t sending up larger edible size spears, then they probably didn’t get enough water or food the previous summer or it’s just too thick. The healthier and larger the plants are in the summer, the healthier and, larger the shoots it will send up in the spring. This means giving it a few pounds of ammonium nitrate per 1,000 square feet and plenty of water in the spring and summer. Also, keep the asparagus beetle at bay. If you allow the plants to become defoliated in the summer, you won’t have a good harvest in the spring.
If your fruit trees are through blooming, give them a good spray with an insecticide such as malathion and a fungicide like captan. This will help to kill some of the early infecting insect and diseases and give you a leg up on the summer season. You could also use a multipurpose fruit tree spray mix with the insecticide and fungicide already mixed for you. Be cautious not to spray apple trees with sevin before June. The active ingredient in sevin can actually cause the apple tree to drop its fruit when the apples are small.
If you haven’t signed up for the micro-processing class for April 20, 2009 at the extension office, you still have until Friday, April 17, to do so. Give me a call at the office at 336-7741 if you would like to attend. The cost is $50.