Saturday, August 8, 2009

Soaking And Growing Grass Seed

By Thomas Fryd

May is the time when the air is still cool enough to make digging a pleasure in Mid America, yet warm enough for all seeding and transplanting.

In the northern parts of the Midwest May is about the last chance to plant magnolias. In areas along the Ohio River it is already too late.

Bare-root nursery stock should be planted before the middle of the month. Later container-grown stock can be, planted. Bare-root roses set now should be mounded with several inches of soil. As the bush is establishing itself, wash the soil away gradually with the hose; by the time the stems leaf out, the soil should be level with the surrounding area.

Grass seed can still be planted safely in northern areas near the Canadian border, but farther south special care is necessary to get a good stand. In the more southerly areas first soak the seed overnight; then rinse it until the water runs clear and dry on a sheet in the sun for four hours. This seed, after drying, can be sown immediately; it will germinate weeks ahead of seed that hasnt been soaked.

Regional climatic differences this month are greater than at any other time of the year. The following operations should be performed May 1 along the Ohio River, May 15 along the latitude of Chicago and Cleveland and May 30 near the Canadian border:

Seed all hardy and half-hardy annuals, beets, carrots, peas, sweet corn, lettuce, herbs, parsnips, parsley, Swiss chard, radishes, New Zealand spinach; also put in onion sets.

Dont delay seeding perennials, if you want to grow your own. The English custom of starting perennials in June should not be followed here in the Midwest, where spring and summer are too hot for good seed germination.

Another planting of gladiolus should go in now. Also set out dahlia tubers, unless spring is wet and late. It is now almost too late for lilies, unless your supplier has unsprouted bulbs in storage. The following operations should be performed May 15 along the Ohio River, May 30 near the latitude of Chicago and Cleveland and June 10 toward the Canadian border:

Set out seedlings of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. When i was a child i always ask the question what happens when a seed germinates? This timing is later than usually recommended but enables the garden to escape an attack of aphids, which transmit disease. By this date the aphids natural enemies have reduced the population considerably.

Seed all warm weather crops, unless spring is unusually early and warm. If you are in the habit of digging your tulips each year, dig them now, while foliage indicates their position; heel them in somewhere in the vegetable garden. The beds can now be replanted with annuals and other bedding plants.

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