GARDEN PHYLLISOPHY – April 2011

By Phyllis Galowitz

Some of my friends who live in the center of town already have signs of spring poking their noses through the wet soil. Living in Palmer Hollow, I have not yet seen them, but red squirrels are frolicking in my garden, chasing each other up and down the trees and enjoying the seed that falls from the bird feeder. More and more birds are visiting the feeder and possibly looking for seasonal homes where they can start their families. It seems to be a busy time for birds and small creatures. When the soil dries, after the snow has melted away and the spring rains have slowed down, it will be a busy time for us.

It’s too early to plant, but there’s plenty of cleaning up to do; broken branches to remove, mulch that was covering delicate plants to protect them from frost to be taken away, beds prepared for spring planting when warmer, sunnier days allow us to get back to walking again. After hibernating during the cold, snowy days of January through early March, I’m ready!

While you’re waiting for a sunny day, the indoor plants can be readied for their summer homes. Perhaps they need larger pots; now’s the time to repot them. Flea markets are a great source for unusual containers. I like to move my plants to the unheated sun porch to accustom them to more sun and colder nights before I bring them outside.

If you’re planning on starting your own seedlings, make sure the trays are clean and you have the materials you will need. I have a tiny greenhouse waiting for me to get a head start. The middle of April should be a good time to begin so that the plants will be ready to move into the garden in early June, when all danger of frost is gone.

In my column last month I spoke about a tomato-potato plant. I was curious enough to want to try it. The catalogue that advertised it was so convincing that I was about to place an order, but, being suspicious by nature, decided to check the company’s ratings on the internet.  There I found nothing but negative comments about the company, its service and the dissatisfaction with promises not kept. I recommend garden shops, where you get what you see! I am sorry though. I’m not sure I’ll find that tomato-potato plant anywhere else!~

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