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Playing in the dirt: Finally, the time of year gardeners 'pine and pant for'


Sharon Carrigan



April seems to have introduced herself as a fickle lady. Warm temps one day and cool, bordering on cold, the next. But in the end, I'll wager she'll warm up, stay that way and put on her Easter bonnet, albeit a little late. This is the time of year gardeners pine and pant for -- not too hot, not too cool and a palette as clear and clean as a new canvas. Of course, some of us have some preparation to achieve that clean canvas. 


Now, if you are a novice gardener and are thinking, "I haven't a clue where to start," you can get some help later in this article. Also, you can plan to learn much more in the next class of Master Gardeners next year. Watch this column for information in the coming months.  


I hope you are all planning to come visit the Lowndes County Master Gardeners' plant sale on Saturday, the 14th of April. It will be 8 a.m. to noon at Brickerton Plaza. Get your gardening jump-started at this event. Oh, btw, the last average frost date for our planting zone is April 15.  


Now for your tips:  


  • Planting - Divide violets, shasta daisies, liriope, ajuga, mums and other perennials. Plant okra, melons, peas, corn, beans, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes and set out basil.  


    Set out summer annuals if danger of frost is past: ageratum, alyssum, begonias, geraniums, dianthus, celosia, marigolds, moss rose, petunias, impatiens, coleus and caladiums, etc.  


    Plant summer and fall blooming bulbs: callas, cannas, dahlias, gladiolus and gloriosa lilies. Sow zinnias for early summer blooms. 


  • Fertilizing - Fertilize tomatoes with 10-10-10. 


  • Pruning - Remove any freeze-damaged and dead wood. Prune azaleas during or after blooming. Remove faded flowers from kurume azaleas. Prune flowering shrubs after they finish blooming. 


  • Mulch - Always mulch in new plantings to help assure success. 


  • Miscellaneous - National Arbor Day is the fourth Friday of April. Paint and repair garden furniture and other hard construction (bird bath, bird houses, mailbox, deck, etc.). Buy azaleas in bloom to be sure of color. 


    Now, get out and go play in the dirt! 


    Sharon Carrigan of Columbus shares monthly gardening tips on behalf of the Lowndes County Masters Gardeners.



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