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.
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.