Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


April, 2004
Regional Report

Control Slugs

Slugs are nocturnal so you may not see them eat holes in your hostas or lamium or lettuce or seedlings, but you will see glistening trails of slug slime as evidence. To control, hand pick at night and drop into soapy water; or use an iron phosphate-based bait (read and follow label instructions); or sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the soil around target plants. Remember that toads, snakes, possums, birds, and other creatures eat them, too.

Plant Gladiolus

Gladiolus can be planted over a period of weeks to extend their bloom season this summer. You can also look for varieties considered early, mid- or late-season bloomers. Plant them in well-prepared soil in a sunny location. To mark the spot and avoid accidentally damaging the corms, insert their support stakes at planting time.

Caring for Peonies

Peonies are low maintenance, staying in place for many years. Allow each peony a space about 3 feet across, and weed and mulch around it. Apply a general purpose granular fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, in early spring and again in late spring. Remove faded blooms and tie up the foliage or use a wire frame peony ring to prevent flopping. Briefly immerse cut flowers in water to float off any ants. (The ants do not hurt the plants.)

Choose Large Containers

Bigger is better when it comes to planting summer flower pots and containers. The increased soil volume is easier to keep evenly moist compared to small containers, and it helps insulate the roots from extreme summer heat. Bigger containers accommodate larger root systems, and bigger root systems mean healthier plants.

Ready, Set, Plant!

Once your average frost date has passed, you can let out all the stops and plant your summer annuals and the bulk of your vegetables from seeds or transplants. Most seed packet labels suggest seed planting depth, seed spacing, and ultimate plant spacing. Be prepared to thin out the weaker seedlings and set your transplants so they have ample space to grow and mature.


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