* Plant an assortment of your most commonly used culinary herbs in large pots and put them on the step outside the kitchen door.
* Pull off flowering stalks of rhubarb at the base of the plant. Give rhubarb plants a small handful of fertilizer since the appearance of flowering stalks is often an indication of poor soil fertility or an overcrowded plant. Rhubarb grows best at temperatures below 75 degrees F, which is one reason why they are doing so well this spring.
* Plant a few hills of squash, melons, and cucumbers from seed. Water the soil a few hours or the evening before sowing these seeds.
* Plant geraniums (Pelargonium) or impatiens if rabbits won’t leave the flower garden alone. These annuals come in a large assortment of colors and growing habits. Best of all, rabbits may admire the flowers, but they won’t eat them.
* Do not water established lawns just yet. There’s plenty of moisture in the soil at this time and watering lawns now will discourage deep root development and may encourage some disease development. For lawns newly seeded last fall or this spring, frequent water is essential. Apply the equivalent of a one-inch rainfall each week.
* Do NOT apply insecticides to blueberry, raspberry, or strawberry plants that are now in bloom. Insecticides applied while fruit crops are in bloom may kill bees which are pollinating the blossoms.
* Cut off the seed heads from tulips after they have completed flowering. It is not necessary to dig up the bulbs but if the plants had been crowded or the blossoms were small, then allow the tulip foliage to dry and dig up the bulbs in late June. To store the bulbs, place them in a box, spread so that they are not touching each other, and cover them with sand or peat moss. Keep the box in a cool corner of the basement.
* Continue planting gladiolas until mid-June. Also, plant dahlias, tuberous begonias, and other summer flowering “bulbs”. For tropical-like foliage effects in flower borders, plant Colocasia, cannas, and Caladium.
* Water newly planted trees, shrubs, and perennials. Though newly planted plants need water to help them get established, be careful not to overwater. Apply enough water to soak soil to a depth of about six to eight inches. Dig a test hole after watering to see how deep actual water penetration is. Apply water no more than once or twice a week if Mother Nature refuses to supply a minimum of one inch rainfall each week.
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Family cookouts, auto racing, hanging baskets, and transplanting tomatoes; what do all of these have in common? They are typically associated with Memorial Day weekend. But let’s not forget to pause and reflect on what this holiday is really about, a remembrance of those who have died in our nation’s service.
I leave you with this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.