Tips for Spring Gardening in Wyoming
From the Sage & Snow Garden Club
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
May 23, 2006
Hello gardeners! The snow is receding and our plants are finally waking up. The Sage and Snow Garden Club wants to provide you with another set of gardening tips for the month of May. If you want to contact us, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307-859-8606.
ANNUALS Set out hardy bachelor's buttons, lobelia, pansies, poppies, and violas. At month's end, set out warm-season annuals (marigolds, petunias, and zinnias), but if frost is predicted, be prepared to cover them.
HARDEN OFF TRANSPLANTS Before transplanting, move seedlings to a partially shaded patio or coldframe, gradually exposing them to more sun and nighttime cold. After seven to ten days, they should be tough enough to go into the ground.
MULCH Spread organic mulch around annuals, perennials, and vegetables. Ground bark, compost, grass clippings, and rotted leaves all do the job of suppressing weed seeds and conserving soil moisture. Dig peat moss into sandy soil.
FERTILIZE Feed lawns with nitrogen fertilizer; repeat in four to six weeks. If you haven't already done so, apply fertilizer to flower beds and vegetable gardens. Use an all purpose fertilizer, such as 16-16-16. A continuous light addition of acidic coffee grounds will help balance alkaline soil and allow more nutrients to be available to plants.
HUMMINGBIRDS To attract hummingbirds, plant delphiniums, bee balm, salvia, hosta, honeysuckle, penstemon, lobelia, and other plants that have a tubular blossom. Red and orange seem to be preferred, but hummingbirds will regularly visit flowers of any color which they learn contains sufficient nectar. Hummingbirds have little or no sense of smell, so most flowers they visit have no fragrance. Hummingbirds also enjoy columbine, hollyhocks, fireweed, bleeding heart, day lilies, Indian paintbrush, nasturtiums, coral bells, and snapdragons.
SUMMER BULBS Start bulbs such as begonias, caladiums, cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus in pots with new soil. Set the pots on a sunny, bright window. Wait until danger of frost is past before setting them out. Except for begonias and caladiums, eventually set them in a warm, sunny spot outside.
VEGETABLES Prepare outdoor vegetable beds to receive seeds and seedlings in June. Walk as little as possible on the beds once you have prepared them to minimize soil compaction. Consider sharing a packet of seeds with a friend. Rarely do we need all the seeds in a seed packet. There are seed catalogs that sell smaller quantities of seeds (something to remember when ordering your seeds next year). Likely, most of your leftover seeds from last year are viable, but be prepared to replant if you don't get the germination rate that you want. Test seeds as follows: fold ten seeds in moist paper towel, place in a resealable bag, mark with date and type. Watch to see how many germinate. Multiply that number by ten to calculate the germination percent. More than seventy percent is passing. If between forty and sixty percent, sow seeds thickly. It's best to buy fresh seed if germination rate is below forty percent.