Wondering where to start with your home garden now that winter weather is receding? We asked plant know-it-all Mike Cutri of Millwood Garden Center and Nursery for his top five tips on honing your green thumb.
“You want to start your seeds in March, about eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. Tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, and eggplant can be started about six to eight weeks before the last frost, which, in New York, is around May 15. Once the soil is workable, then you can put in your onions, peas, spinach, lettuce, and things like that directly into the ground.”
“Start pruning in March. You can prune trees, shrubs, and fruiting trees. Don’t prune plants that are going to flower in the spring, because you can cut off the buds accidentally, and they won’t flower. So, don’t prune things like azaleas, rhododendrons, and forsythia.”
“You can apply dormant oil. This is something that people do the last week of March, and before the buds open is a good time for that. Dormant oil is going to control the insects that are wintering [on the plant], which are the ones that are going to do damage when the buds open.”
“In April, you can start to clean up your lawn. Remove any branches or things like that. In the past, people used to remove the leaves from the lawn, but what is actually a better idea is to just mow them right into the grass. That gives you your first application of fertilizer.”
“If you are going to go the synthetic-fertilizer route, April is also a great time to start. You use crabgrass preventer if you are not seeding. If you are seeding your lawn, do not use crabgrass preventer. You can fertilize anything at that point in time: gardens, roses, shrubs, trees, and more. If you are going to do any kind of tree or shrub transplanting, April is also a good time for that.”
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