I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Don’t plant anything until after Mother’s Day,” but that’s not completely true.
While it may be good advice for new gardeners, there are actually several types of plants that thrive during the cool part of spring that you should be planting now.
Meteorologist Kirsti Zontini and I had the opportunity to sit down with Garden Talk Show Host Mark Webber during one of our latest episodes of Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast. During our podcast, Webber had a number of tips for anyone looking to get in the garden now rather than waiting until May. Webber is a trained arborist and has his own landscaping business, making him an expert on this topic.
According to Webber, it’s not just the flowers we should be thinking about, but perhaps caring for our lawns. If you’re someone who suffers from patchy, sparse lawns and is waiting for it to warm up before seeding, then you would be waiting too long. Grass actually grows best during the cooler days of the year, early spring and late fall. One tip Webber offered is putting your bag of grass seed into the freezer the night before planting. The cold air will help boost the seed, then you’ll need to thoroughly rake it into the soil the following day.
Webber warned of a disease that could seriously damage your lawn if you don’t take care of it quickly.
“A lot of lawns are in trouble due to a disease called snow mold,” said Webber. “That’s when the turf was under snowpack for a lengthy period of time. Then you throw on top the lengthy monsoon season we’ve had.”
Webber added the best way to remedy the situation would be to take a few short minutes to gently rake the blades of grass in your yard to aerate them.
Of course, some of us may not need the lawn care advice but would rather start planting in the garden. Well, when it comes to beautifying your flower beds, there are a few plants that are built to handle the colder nights, and one of the options would be a cool season annual. These would include pansies, dianthus, petunias, snapdragons, and sweet alyssum.
Vegetables are also a good option for planting this time of year. Some of the heartier vegetable options to plant include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, garden peas and potatoes.
Weather, of course, plays a big role in how well our gardens and lawns do this time of year, and one of the biggest helpers is lightning.
Did you know lightning can help plants grow? That’s right, the heat of the lightning interacts with oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere creating something called nitrates. As the rain falls it picks up these nitrates in the air. They are then pulled down to be absorbed into the ground like a natural fertilizer helping plants to grown. That’s why you may see greener and fuller grass or plants a few days after a thunderstorm.
If you would like to hear more of our interview with Webber, search for “Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast” in your Apple podcast app, in Google Play or Stitcher on your mobile device. You can also find a link to each episode on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.