Happy Valentine’s Day Flowers!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Flowers are a great form of communication and many of you have either received or given flowers today to help share your love with your spouse or significant other.  Flowers not only are beautiful but they can convey our emotions, share fragrances and memories.   A beautiful potted plant or fresh cut flower bouquet can recall a first date, a special evening or weekend, a wonderful wedding day, our honeymoon or some other special time together. It is amazing how much flowers can say without being able to say a word and then you can enhance the flowers with a personal card, chocolates, dinner and new memories to truly create your own festival or holiday of love.  Some relationships celebrate with a dozen red roses, others with a spring bouquet or pot of flowering cyclamen, hyacinth or tulips, while others prefer a living rose bush, tree or flowering shrub that will grow for years in your yard as a symbol of your love. 

The bright yellow forsythia is blooming across our state to announce that spring is coming. This is a green light for gardeners to apply crabgrass and summer weed control to your lawns.  Visit with your local nursery or garden center to select the best herbicide or weed killer for your lawn grass variety.  Apply as a herbicide alone or as part of a weed and feed combination product between now and when the redbud trees are done blooming which is usually around mid to late March.  The quicker you apply the pre-emergent the more summer weeds you will control as pre-emergent herbicides kill the weeds as they start to germinate from the seed.  Most pre-emergent’s are not effective once the seed has germinated so they must be applied and watered in to become effective before the crabgrass or weed seeds germinate and then they will offer control for four to eight weeks.  There are many good pre-emergent’s but I think the best ones include Barricade or Prodiamine, Dimension, Balan, Treflan, Sulfentrazone, Team or Gallery.  Once the crabgrass or weeds have germinated we have to switch to post–emergent herbicides for weed control. 

If you want to raise your own food garden we have entered the prime planting time for most of the cool season vegetable crops.  The next four weeks will be the time to plant seed potatoes, onion sets, onion plants, seeds of Swiss chard, carrots, peas, spinach, turnips, kohlrabi, and leaf or head lettuce.  Plant crowns of asparagus, rhubarb and horseradish or young plants of cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli.  If you want to add berries to your garden or landscape, plant bareroot strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, gooseberries, youngberries or grapes to grow your own fresh berries for years to come.  When handling bareroot berries, fruit trees or roses please get them planted soon or place the roots temporarily in peat moss or soil so your new plants won’t dehydrate before they have a chance to get established. 

Most are getting seed catalogs or e-mails about new plants and this is a fun time to be thinking about what new plants to try in your yard this year.  I love reviewing all these possibilities and picking out a few new vegetables or flowers to try each year.  It is a good idea to visit with your local nurseryman or greenhouse grower for advice on these new plants and whether they are likely to succeed in our area.  It is a good idea to buy locally grown plant material when possible from local experts that can help you be a gardening success.

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