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MY GARDEN PATH: Today is the first day of spring

by ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press
| March 20, 2022 1:00 AM

Now that daylight-saving time has started, it's looking more and more like spring. The other thing that makes it seem like winter is past is all the rain we've had lately. Of course, by saying that, the snow will probably return…with a vengeance! Can't win.

I hope you're seeing more birds at your feeders than I am. Very few have shown up in my backyard. Most of these are the ordinary English sparrows. Occasionally, a chickadee or two will stop by. Have also seen a Junco and song sparrow.

Then there's the robins. Of course, they don't come to the feeders but they will show up now and then in large numbers. It always seems odd to have them show up here in winter, but they do it every year, sometimes as early as January.

Last week, a large number of interesting birds came by. These were waxwings. As I looked at them, they evidently got spooked by something and took off in a hurry. One hit a window and was killed instantly. Such a shame. Beautiful bird. I have only had that happen a couple of times in many years in this house. I know some people have this happen often and need to hang deterrents in their windows. This can be just about anything so that the birds realize that area isn't a “pass through.”

If you enjoy growing things like dahlias and tuberous begonias, now is a good time to get them going. If you wait until it's warm enough to plant them outdoors, you'll be lucky to see the first blooms by August.

For the dahlias, you will need a tall pot. Put some potting soil into the bottom and then the dahlia tubers, vertically. Fill the pot to the top with more potting soil and place near a sunny window. Do not water until you see the first sprout as these tubers rot easily. Then, just watch them grow with occasional fertilizer until the end of May or first of June. Transplant into a sunny area, water and watch them grow.

To start the tuberous begonias indoors, they need a fairly shallow pot filled with nice potting soil. Place one tuber in each pot, rounded side down. Do not cover with soil until after sprouts appear. Then a thin layer is all you need. Keep watered and fertilize occasionally while growing them in a sunny window. They can go outdoors about June 1 and will do well if located in morning sun. Some of these bulbs are created for hanging baskets. These do well on a porch or patio. Don't forget to keep them watered and fertilize occasionally.

It's not too late to get those garden seeds started indoors. Things like tomatoes need a fairly long growing season, so don't put it off. It will be time to put them outside before you know it.

Since March “came in like a lamb,” does that mean it will “go out like a lion?” I guess time will tell. The other adage goes like this: Spring has sprung, fall has fell, winter is here and it's colder than…usual.

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Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently an active member of the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column has appeared in The Press every other Sunday from early March until late October for the past 13 years.

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Elaine Cerny