March 25, 2009

It's spring and time for the March09 newsletter. Many of our affiliates have great deals on plants and bulbs. Starting this year we will be updating our blog everytime we are notified, by our affiliates, of sales. We will update the blog with direct links to the affiliates offering a sale. Most of these deals are great buys, I have purchased many bulbs and seeds myself.

Here in the Great Lakes region we are approaching the time to plant seeds. I like to plant around Easter in a year like this. Seeds take about 4 to 6 weeks to appear and by the end of May I should have healthy plants. If you are planting trees, shrubs or evergreens, they can be planted now since it is best to plant these items before growth appears. Be sure to place a good layer of mulch after planting to protect the roots from frost. Flowers and vegetables should not be planted outside until the threat of frost ceases. Although many plants can live through a frost, they will be severely stunted.

Due to the economy and the need to be frugle, I intend to plant mostly seeds this year since I had good success with them last year. I saved many seeds from last years flowers. Our winter provided plenty of moisture so I don't expect to have many holes in my perennial beds. Sprinkling seed is much easier in a full bed. I do intend to add a blueberry bush this year since I found that blueberries are good for cholesteral health. Since I have no room, I intend to plant the bush in a halved wine barrel.

This season I expect to have good crops of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, cherries, tomatos, onions and green peppers. Last year I got bumper crops from my strawberries and raspberries all season. I also have cranberry bushes that have yet to produce but I hope to see some this year.

Before planting I like to prepare my soil with some mix. I usually add a slow release fertilizer and some peat moss. I turn the soil and mix in the peat and fertilizer careful not to damage the plants already existing. Once my plants start to grow I like to mulch with a fine cedar or compost. I mix the previous years mulch in with all the other items as I turn the soil. I am fortunate that I have a fairly high clay mixture to start. It is easy to improve it with the items mentioned and it retains water well. Starting with a sandy or dry soil is much harder to work.

With all the reports of contaminated food and the FDA's lack of oversight, I can not stress enough how importnant it is to grow our own foods as much as possible. Everyday we hear reports of something that has infected Americans and sickened many people and who knows how much all the preservatives affect our overall health. I know we can only do so much with the limited space most of us have but if I can grow the items above, anybody can. I actually have to remove and discard several strawberry plants a year they grow so much. I am thinking of starting an exchange program so that others can enjoy some of my plants. Please let me know what you think.

Anyway, spring is here and summer will soon follow. Lets get out and get started so that we can relax and enjoy summer with beautiful colors and great foods.