Gardentalk – Here’s your early-season, pre-planting checklist

Close up view of rhubarb sprouting in KTOO's Agricultural Test Station and Garden of Science! in April 2019.
Close-up view of rhubarb sprouting in KTOO’s Agricultural Test Station and Garden of Science! in April 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Yay, gardening season is here!

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski runs down the list of things to do in this season’s first edition of “Gardentalk,” which airs on KTOO’s “Morning Edition” every Thursday morning during the spring and summer.

In this week’s segment, Buyarski encourages us to finish with the clean-up of messy greenhouses and garden beds that we started last fall.

Remove all the weeds, slugs and debris that you can find. Also, now would be the perfect time to mix in some fertilizer, horse manure or compost into your soil or garden planters.

“It will help it break down the soil more quickly and will really help stimulate the worm population, which is very beneficial to releasing the nutrients for the plants that we want,” Buyarski said.

Use clear plastic to help warm up the soil before you start planting, but make sure the plastic is raised up above the soil a few inches. Don’t let it rest directly on the soil.

If you still have snow in a semi-shaded garden area, then spread wood ashes or sand over the area to accelerate melting.

Buyarski will be starting tomato plants indoors this weekend. But he said if your garden soil is already warm enough, then you can directly plant kale, mustard and spinach into the ground right now. Cover those planted seeds with clear plastic, but remove that plastic before the seedlings get cooked in this spring’s warm and sunny weather.

Finally, did you plant garlic last fall and cover with plastic to protect them from snow and rain? If so, you can start removing that plastic as the bulbs emerge from the soil.

Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he’ll answer your question in an upcoming segment.

Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the “Gardentalk” page, so you’ll never have to worry about missing Thursday’s live radio broadcasts.



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