It’s time to get out in the yard, dust off those garden tools, clean up your lawn and gardens and prepare your home for the upcoming summer.
Repair dead areas in the lawn with seed. Rake up dead grass, scuff up the soil, and apply quality grass-seed. Tamp lightly to ensure good soil to seed contact and cover with straw. Keep well watered for 3 weeks. Prevent crabgrass with pre-emergent. You need to apply before the crab grass germinates—mid April into Early May– Soil temperatures need to be above 50 degrees. Don’t put the pre-emergent where you have new un-germinated grass seed. Use post-emergencies for actively growing broadleaf weeds. Spring is also a good time to have your lawn core aerified, which helps reduce thatch problems, soil compaction, and drainage.
Cool season annuals will begin to be available. Pansies are a great cool season annual to brighten up the outside. Daffodils are blooming, fertilize them lightly with a balanced fertilizer. Make sure to let the foliage die back naturally so the bulb gets energized for next year. Plant summer blooming bulbs such as Dahlias, Cannas, Gladioli, Lilies, Begonias, Caladium, and Elephant Ears. (Remember most of these bulbs must be dug up in the fall and overwintered). Thin shoots on perennials such as lupines, delphiniums, and moss phlox.
Don’t rush the growing season. The frost-free date for our area is May 15th. The term “frost free” means there is still a 50-50 chance of frost on a frost-free date. Consider soil temperatures as well as air temperature. It’s also the time to harden off cool-season vegetable transplants. Gradually introduce them to the outdoor environment over a 7-10 day period. You can plant peas, lettuce, spinach, turnips, onion sets, parsley, kohlrabi, and kale from seeds. You can also plant broccoli, and cabbage transplants.