Welcome, gardeners, new and experienced, to the 2016 growing season!
Though I must say, this is the most difficult part of gardening: When, oh when, will spring really arrive? In these next few weeks there is a good chance of a new plant-killing freeze. Waiting a little while is frustrating but does the plants no harm and saves the frustration of having to replant.
Spend time planning and visiting nurseries to see what’s available until there’s a minimal chance of more freezing weather to avoid the heartbreak of losing early plantings to a late freeze.
Another problem right now is rain-saturated soil. Although some plants love this condition, they are the exception. Most plants wither and die in wet soil. So wait until you can gather a handful of soil that crumbles, rather than stays in a moist ball, when poked.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
But on those occasional sunny days now, you can do some things prior to planting. Here are a few:
▪ Clean up beds (avoid walking over them, further compacting wet soil).
▪ Amend beds — compost, fertilize.
▪ Create a planting plan.
▪ Round up, sharpen and oil gardening tools.
▪ Take a class — at nurseries, from Whatcom Extension, and Master Gardener talks.
Before you know it, you’ll be out planting and enjoying early-blooming bulbs, plants, and trees. If you have any questions you’d like answered in upcoming months, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll forward them to me.
Kathleen Bander of Bellingham is a life-long gardener. Her column will appear in The Bellingham Herald weekly through the summer growing season. If you have a gardening question you’d like answered in the column, please email it to email@example.com. For more gardening information online, go to whatcom.wsu.edu/ch/mg.html.