Tips for Hardy Gardeners

Peter Prehn/Flickr

With a weekend forecast calling for sunshine and 60s, it's going to be hard for spring-starved Northlanders to stay out of their backyards.

Their wet, squishy backyards.

Tom Kasper says don't rake; prune instead.

Tom Kasper

Those weird lights glowing at all hours in Tom Kasper's basement?

Grow lights, trying to give his onion seedlings the 60-70 degrees and the 14 hours of daylight they need to grow into fine, big, grown-up onions.

That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Apium [via Flickr, modified]

In these turbulent March days where perennials may start to peek out of the ground, a few days of drastic cold may come around as damage their early growth.  Tom Kasper advises covering those garden beds with loose straw to provide an insulating layer to help keep out the cold air.

Tom Kasper

Tom Kasper is wondering where he can get some snow.

"February 20th and my bee balm is sprouting," he writes on his Facebook page.  "I'm all for an early spring. But this is a little too early!"

Perhaps the immortal words of Simon and Garfunkel are what our perennials need about now:

Slow down; you move too fast

You've got to make the winter last ...!

Tom Kasper

Tom Kasper is ignoring the -20 to -30 below windchills of the next few days, and the melting mid-30s after that in favor of  his plant and seed catalogs, where lawns are green,  gardens are lush and all the dahlias are above average.

Steve James/Flickr

So you have a shrubbery in your yard, perhaps close to the street or your driveway.

Maybe you even have an additional shrubbery, perhaps with a little path between the two.

So what do you do when the only place to plow or shovel snow is ... on your shrubbery?

Steve Johnson [via Flickr, modified]

Tom Kasper reminds us in these winter months to be mindful of where we direct our slowblower jetsam. Especially with icy or heavy snow, branches can be easily damaged. 

Even after all these years, all the cool gadgets he's talked about on the show, a decades-long quest for an electric wheelbarrow ... master gardener Tom Kasper says there's still nothing better than giving the gift of your time to garden with someone you love.

Lisa Johnson

Tom Kasper says you can still get out and do your winter pruning without danger of insects or disease affecting your trees or bushes ... don't forget the tree wrap against rabbits, deer and sun scald ... and spring  bulbs are really, really cheap!

Tom Kasper

Larry Weber likes to talk about the magical time of what he calls aut-win: the time between the leaf drop and the first snowfall.

And Tom Kasper says, while you're in your yard, taking time to smell the roses anyway (that's his shrub rose in bloom last Friday, November 11), you might as well take advantage of the good visibility to finish lopping storm-damaged branches off your trees.

www.homejobsbymom.com/Flickr

Master gardener Tom Kasper draws some flack for not being on top of the national pumpkin conversations this week.

Adam Koford/Flickr

In the Autumn a young gardener's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of rose-tipping, planting spring bulbs and garlic.

©Lisa Johnson

Master gardener Tom Kasper is excited about all the new fruit trees folks are planting to replace trees downed in summer storms.

But the problem is, rabbits, mice and deer are excited about them, too.

Lisa Johnson

Master Gardener Tom Kasper says now is the time to divide perennials - like peonies - and maybe even organize a swap with your friends.

F. D. Richards [via Flickr]

  The soggy ground continues to bring the threat of black molds and powdery mildew, and gardeners need to be mindful of what flowers and plants to prune, and what to keep and possibly treat to prevent the return of these fungi next spring.

Despite the soggy ground, now is the time to divide perennials - irises and peonies, for example - to best prepare them for next year.  Dividing can help underperforming flowers to produce more and better blooms in  the coming seasons.

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