Gardening Daily Tips 109

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Plant type: Interior Plant, Perennial

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3a to 9a

Height: 12″ to 18″

Spread: 12″ to 24″

Exposure: partial shade partial sun to full sun

Bloom Color: White, Yellow

Bloom Time: Early spring, Mid spring

Leaf Color: Green

Growth Rate: average

Moisture: moist

Soil Condition: Loamy, Neutral, Well drained

Form: Upright or erect

Landscape Uses:

Alpine garden, Container, Massing, Rock garden, Seashore, Specimen, Woodland garden

Special Features:

Attractive foliage, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers

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Q&A: Aerating Lawn

Question: How can I aerate my lawn? Should I mow the weeds down on my dormant lawn?

Answer: Mowing down weeds before they flower and set seeds is a good idea. As for renovating your lawn, thatching removes the dead stolons, rhizomes, stems and old grass blades. All turfgrasses have thatch but a thatch layer that is too thick can keep water from penetrating down to the roots and can keep fertilizers from reaching the soil. If your turf has excessive thatch, more than one inch of thatch, then you should dethatch your lawn, then overseed this spring. Aerating helps if your soil is compacted, which can happen by itself over the years, or by lots of foot traffic. By removing plugs of grass and soil, then spreading a thin layer of sand or compost over the lawn and watering it in, the sand or compost will work its way into the holes and help loosen the soil. If you are not sure which to do, you can do both. Dethatch and overseed this spring, then aerate in the fall, leaving the plugs on the lawn. They will dissolve with the rain. Hope this information helps you make the right decision with your lawn!

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Q&A: Rooting Willow Cutting

Question: I’d like to root a stem of corkscrew willow that was part of a bouquet. It is now in a little glass of water. What should I do next?

Answer: Congratulations. You now have a new plant from your bouquet! Willows are famous for rooting easily from cuttings. Now all you have to do is keep it relatively happy and plant it this spring. I’d pot the rooted cutting in a soiless, potting mix in a container under grow lights. It will continue to grow so place the container in a cool (50F) room so it doesn’t grow TOO fast. Fertilize lightly, enough only to keep it green and growing. Be sure to harden it off before planting it outside.

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Q&A: Using Seed Tape to Create Designs with Flowers

Question: I want to start a flower garden and want to spell out words with the flowers. What flowers would work best and how do you form the letters of the words?

Answer: I’ve seen gardens just as you describe, and they’re delightful. You can start out with pencil and paper, measure the garden site, and decide where your letters should go. The size of your site will help you determine which plants to use, depending upon their mature size. If you want to use annuals, you can change your design each year. If you use perennials, they should last 3 or more years. A more permanent design would incorporate shrubs. The easiest way to form designs (and words) with flowers is to make your own seed tapes, with one type of flower seed on each set of tapes, then plant the seed tapes according to your drawing. Here’s how to make your own seed tapes: Dissolve 1 tablespoon of constarch in 1 cup cold water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it starts to boil and turn into a gel, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperatue. When it’s cool, put a few spoonfuls into a small plastic bag and seal the top. Take 4 or 5 paper towels, fold them at the perforations, and cut into 1″ strips. Unfold and lay on a flat surface. Use a ruler to pre-mark the paper so your seeds will be properly spaced. Then snip the corner off the gel-filled plastic bag and drop a little glob of gel on each of the pre-marked spots. Place a seed on each speck of gel. The seeds will be firmly attached when the gel dries and you’ll have your own customized seed tapes. Lay them on a prepared garden bed, cover with a little soil and water thoroughly. Seedlings will begin to appear in 1-3 weeks, depending upon what you’re growing. Good luck with your project.

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Tip: Plant Early Vegetables

By the end of the month in most places, you should be able to plant peas, spinach, lettuce and radishes. As long as the soil is not too wet, the cold won’t bother these vegetables. The earlier you get them in the ground, the better chance you will have to harvest before bolting in hot weather.

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Tip: Allow Soil to Dry Before Tilling

Wait for soil to dry before tilling or planting — the soil should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Tilling wet soil breaks down the structure and leads to compaction.

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