Sat April 14, 2012
Garden Report

Go Ahead, Get Your Paws Dirty!

Mud season can be a pain for those living in the mountains, but it doesn't have to keep you out of the garden. KUNC Gardener Tom Throgmorton says this is a great time to get a few vital things done before the ground dries out.

The High Country experiences the mud season every year.  The season lasts from now until all the snow is melted.  Mud season is only one of many challenges for mountain gardeners. 

The best thing to do for wet soil during the mud season is to stay off of it.  Don’t try to dig and turn the garden.  Don’t tromp through the perennial beds.  Saturated soil is easily compacted by any traffic.  Let the soil dry out before you try to work it.

Mud season can be a good time to core aerate lawn areas.  The aerator machines are easier to maneuver.  They pull out better cores in moist soil.  The cores are a little unsightly as they dry on top of the grass.  The cores slowly break down and add nutrients to the soil.  The open holes let air down into the soil.  Aerating could be the best thing to happen to the lawn this year.

While things dry out plant some early blooming containers.  Pansies, primrose and snapdragons are a few flowers that can take spring frosts.  When the season warms up, trade these early bloomers for warm season flowers.  Although at high elevations the cool season flowers are a blast of color all summer.  Flowering pots on the porch brighten things up while the mud is flowing. 

Mud season is a good time for planning.  Draw a plan for the veggie garden.  Salad greens and veggies in the cabbage family love the cool high country nights. 

Starting a new landscape or renewing an old landscape also needs to be planned.  Contact a landscape designer to get a landscape plan.  Professional landscape designs add interest all year around.

If you can’t work in the garden outside, sow some seeds inside.  Use clean containers.  Sow a few seeds in an individual pot.  Rows of seed can be sown in flats.  Use a light soilless seedling mix.  Water the soil before planting seeds to avoid washing the seeds out.  Follow the sowing instructions on the seed packet.  A general rule is plant most seeds twice their width deep. 

Cover the seedling containers with plastic wrap to hold in the moisture.  Keep the containers in the warmest, sunniest spot in the house.  Most seeds germinate between sixty and seventy degrees.  Bright light keeps the seedlings from getting too leggy.  In six or eight weeks the seedlings should be ready for the garden... just in time for mud season’s end.



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