Saturday, September 30, 2023

Is it really spring?

by ELAINE CERNY/My Garden Path
| March 5, 2023 1:00 AM

Believe it or not, it's that time of the year again. Time to dig out those gardening catalogs and wish lists. If you like to start things from seed, some things need to get going early. Some plants even want to get going in January! That's fine if you have the room for them, not to mention, the ambition.

Personally, I don't have either, so I'll wait until May and then give the local greenhouses some business. In the meantime, there's always something plant-related that needs doing. For instance, we've had a couple of 100-foot ponderosa pine trees cut down in our yard recently. What a job that was! I was exhausted just watching the guys making it happen.

We didn't want to cut down those trees but inspections showed that they needed to go. One was infested with something called dwarf mistletoe and the other one had a split top.

I'd never heard of dwarf mistletoe, but evidently it invades the tree and sucks out all the nutrition, eventually killing it. I understand it's quite common in our local pines. With the other tree, at some point one of the tops will break off and fall. No one wants that to worry about.

People tell me that they're watching for growth from their crocus plants. Mine are still out of sight under an old snow bank, so I won't be looking for a while yet.

In the meantime, I'll have no problem staying busy indoors as all my house plants are begging for attention. Some just need a bit of fertilizer, but most of them need transplanting. I like to do my African violets at the beginning of the year, as soon as the sunshine starts to get brighter. They will respond by budding up.

Most of the foliage plants need some attention too. The fancy leaved begonias and spider plants, to name a few. Just dump them out of their pot, add some fresh potting soil to a bit larger pot and settle the plant back into its new home. Give it a week or so to settle in and then give it a diluted dose of fertilizer. Place near an east window if you have one. A south one will work for a while, but will get too sunny before long. Flowering plants can stay there but not the foliage ones.

Another thing you might add is some form of humidity. With the exception of cactus plants, most others will love it. I recently saw a report on TV that mentioned how good it was for people to have indoor plants as nearly all of them produce oxygen. A few do this both day and night. These include spider plants, orchids and succulents. Bedroom windows will be just the thing.

Other than wishing and hoping, there's not much we can do for the yard … yet. If you're feeling super ambitious, maybe you could oil up those garden tools so they'll be ready. Just a thought.

• • •

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 15 years.


Elaine Cerny

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