We are extremely proud to have a monthly column in The Black Mountain News. The column is titled Gardening in the Valley and the author is a member of the committee. Typically the column is the third Wednesday of each month. So pick up a copy of the paper.
Also want to thank Rhonda Reedy for her behind the scenes management of the column and working with the paper. For being a relatively new member, she has already done so much for our committee.
Committee members interested in writing an article, please contact Rhonda. If you are wondering what to write about, select a month and we can offer you some suggestions.
Scroll down to read this month's column.
It's time to give those gardening boots a workout! But before you start thinking about buying new plants, take sometime to do some spring chores as it will get your garden off to a good, healthy start. Here are ten gardening tasks you will be glad you tackled:
Start a gardening journal. This will be an invaluable resource for you as it will help you remember what worked and what didn’t. Also makes your gardening efforts more effective and helps you avoid past mistakes. What to record in your journal? When you started seeds, transplanted plants, purchases, when you fertilized, sketch of your vegetable garden for rotation purposes and bloom times. I could go on and on, but you are getting the idea.
Check your gardening tools. Did you clean those tools before putting them away? If not, cleaning and sharpening them now is time well spent. Simply rinse soil off digging tools after each use, use a stiff brush to give it a thorough cleaning and dry completely. To keep the wooden tool handles from splitting and drying out rub them with linseed oil. Before mowing the lawn, sharpen blades and have it serviced.
Remember the 2016 drought. Install a rain barrel to collect the rainwater from your roof. The rainwater can help to improve the health of your garden, lawn, and trees.
Do a soil test. Getting your soil tested is a great way to measure its health and fertility. It takes the guesswork out of fixing any nutrient issues. Pick up a soil test box with form at the Buncombe County Extension Office or check their website as they have booths at several tailgate markets. Before planting your vegetables, fertilize your garden as recommended from your soil test results.
Lawn Did you fertilize your cool-season lawn in February? If not, quick-release products can be applied through the end of March. Spring is not the time to renovate by over-seeding or reseeding cool-season turf. Small areas can be sodded at any time, but sod must be watered well to increase survival rate.
Prune out dead, damaged, diseased wood in trees and shrubs as discovered. Don't prune spring flowering shrubs until after they have bloomed. Do prune fruit trees and summer-flowering plants such as crape myrtle and butterfly bush. Prune roses late in March but before bud breaks.
Mulching is one of the best ways to control those pesky weeds in the landscape, conserves soil moisture and prevents soil erosion. For landscape beds, mulch the entire area. For individual plants, such as trees, the mulched area should extend at least 3 to 6 feet out from the base of the plant. The mulch should be pulled 1 to 2 inches away from the base of the plants to prevent bark decay.
Edibles The following vegetables can be planted this month: beets, carrots, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, Swiss chard, turnips, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Clean and maintain birdhouses. Be a good landlord and clean out the birdhouses to get them ready for the next tenant. Take along you hammer, screwdriver and extra screws/nails to make any quick repairs. Check the roof for any cracks and either re-roof or maybe install a new home.
Plan your fall bulb order. Now? Yes, as you can see what bulbs you already have and where the gaps need filling. Pull out your catalog from last fall to select the colors and numbers you need to fill the voids then you will be ready to order later in the year.
But the most important thing not mentioned above is to stop and enjoy spring as it rolls into summer too quickly. Reward yourself by just relaxing outside and taking in the sights and sounds of the season. Happy Gardening!
Bio: Lyndall Noyes-Brownell proudly serves as co-chair for Black Mountain Beautification Committee, an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer of Buncombe County and chair of Black Mountain Blooms Seed Lending Library. She also is the webmaster for blackmountainbeautification.org and cares for plant containers in Black Mountain.