We are looking at another beautiful weekend in Missouri, with only a small chance of showers on Sunday – it should be perfect for getting your late spring planting done. As the frost-free dates approach, April 21st to May 1stacross most of the state, there are still things you can do to get your garden ready.
- Plant Spring Greens & Root Crops – Get your peas, onions, potatoes, radishes, lettuce, cabbage and other greens in the ground as soon as possible. These veggies like the cooler weather to get established and can withstand temperatures as low as 25 degrees. This will give them a sturdy root system and prevent them from bolting (going to seed) before they are ready.
- Cut Ornamental Grasses – Cut down plants like Pampass Grass, Liriope and Zebra Grass before they sprout too far up. This will prevent them from getting brown tips and will make it easier to clean them out later.
- Mulch Your Beds – Spread hardwood mulch around trees and shrubs now so you don’t trample tender plants sprouting later. Also, be sure to stay away from mulching in mounds too high on your plant trunks – it can cause insect damage and disease.
- Water Now, for Later – Start watering deep now while you are not competing with plants and heat to stock up your water resources for later. Ideally, you will have a solid 18 inches of moisture in the soil going into summer. Watering now will make it much easier and cheaper to keep up with the heat later. Pro tip: your plants may look fine because the weather is cool, but the ground is very dry underneath because of two years worth of drought. Tilled soil is showing a water depth of less than 6 inches. Plants normally won’t use more than an inch of water a week. If you add that inch to 10 inches of dry soil it becomes nothing.
- Sharpen Your Tools – If that rain does hit, take an hour or two to sharpen you shovels, pruners and mower blades. A little bit of maintenance now will make working much easier later.