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Gardening with Laurie: Start your spring gardens

By By Laurie Garretson
Feb. 2, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 1, 2012 at 8:02 p.m.

Laurie Garretson

Spring-like temperatures and some wonderful rain is all we gardeners need to make for a wonderful day. I've heard from several gardeners that they received anywhere from 1/2 to 3 inches of rain this past week. The rain was wonderful. We still need lots more, but let's be grateful for any we get.

Now is the time we gardeners are starting our spring gardens. The most popular crop grown is always tomatoes. Many people also grow lettuces to go with those delicious tomatoes. Leaf lettuces have become very popular the past few years. It's time to get lettuce seeds or transplants in the ground.

Lettuce is one vegetable crop that can be grown in some shade. Plant in an area that gets afternoon and evening shade for best results. When growing from seeds, always soak the seeds in liquid seaweed a few hours before planting. Once planted, your lettuce seeds will need to be kept moist while the seeds are sprouting and beginning to grow.

After your seedlings have sprouted and are an inch tall, be sure to carefully thin the seedlings to about five or six inches apart. The extra seedlings can then be replanted in different locations or tossed in your next salad. Sow more seeds at different intervals to have a steady supply of fresh salad greens for a longer harvesting time.

Feed your lawn with a granular organic fertilizer, and spread a thin layer of compost on it to really give it the best start for this spring. Apply a heavier application of the fertilizer and compost in thin areas or where the grass has died.

If you have weeds in the lawn, put out corn gluten meal to help prevent any weeds' seeds from germinating. Apply with a broadcaster at 20 pounds for every 1,000 square feet. Lightly water corn gluten meal after it's applied to activate it and to help keep birds from eating it.

The warmer temperatures have already caused many plants to start budding out. If you have not pruned your plums and peach trees, do so now. It is recommended to be done before bud break. Peaches and plum trees are two types of fruits that really do best when pruned every year by 40-50 percent to encourage a 45 degree angle growth.

Keep all fruit trees well mulched to help prevent future pest problems. Fertilize all your fruit trees with organic granular fertilizer and follow up every couple of weeks with an organic liquid fertilizer that you'll spray over the entire tree. This schedule will help to give your fruit trees a good base to form lots of fruit.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all of our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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