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Gardening This Spring

The warm winter and early spring have caused some flowers to start blooming early this year.

The first day of spring is Sunday, which means it’s time for Noon Edition’s annual spring gardening show.

This week, our gardening experts answered your questions and gave advice on how to keep plants healthy.

Here are eight questions our guests answered in our show:

What is the best way to deal with slugs and snails?

“They are different slug and snail baits that work quite well on shrubs. Beer and rinds of grape fruit are pretty time-consuming and not real effective. You turn the empty shell that’s been squeezed or partially eaten upside down in your garden, and in the mornings, you check under and dispose of the slugs that are in there” says Helen May, retired co-owner of May’s Greenhouse.

Speaking of citrus, May also added that orange peels will help keep pesky neighborhood cats away from gardens.

When is the best time to seed grass? What do I do about weeds?

Don Adamson, who’s retired from the Bloomington Valley Nursery, says that weeds come first when it comes to re-seeding your grass.

“If you have any weeds, you need to make care of those first. The spray for broad-leaf weeds can kill new seeds. It’s best to do it as early in spring as you can,” he says,

After transplanting a rhubarb plant, it seems to wilt and die every year. What should I do?

“You may have some kind of fungus infestation that causes it to rot of at the ground. If it were a perennial, I would recommend a fungicide. I wouldn’t do that with something you want to eat. I would check with the county extension office and see if they’ll recommend something,” May says.
According to May, rhubarb needs good drainage and that you can put sand in the top few inches of soil around the plant to improve drainage.

What are some good plants for a patio garden?

Our experts recommended beans and tomatoes as well as small-type cabbages. They added that you can plant lettuce early and then plant late beans.

How early do I set outside Winged Begonia?

May recommends setting it out around Mother’s Day, but that you should harden it outside for a little bit before planting, but to also protect it from winds before the leaves have a chance to thicken a little.

Helen May and Don Adamson answered your gardening questions.

Helen May and Don Adamson answered your gardening questions.

What are some good deer resistant bushes and trees?

Our experts recommended special deer-resistant varieties of Arborvitae trees, Yucca, and thorny Barberries. They cautioned to check to see if the Barberry is invasive before planting. You can find a list of more deer-resistant plants at the Bloomington Valley Nursery.

Will we see more tent caterpillars this year?

According to Adamson, they will be back. But we shouldn’t worry because in most cases, they will not kill a tree.

May explained a way to control these pests.

“One way to semi-control, if they’re low enough that you can reach: if you go up during the way and wind the tents up in a pole and pull it down and stomp on it. You will alleviate your problem,” she says.

What are some low-maintenance indoor plants?

May suggested that if you have a bright window, succulents and cacti were the way to go. She also recommended Sansevieria and jade plants, but to stay away from most ferns.

Our Guests:

Helen May, retired co-owner of May’s Green House

Don Adamson, retired Bloomington Valley Nursery Manager

Join us Friday at 12 p.m. You can visit this site to be part of our live chat, follow us on Twitter @NoonEdition, or join us on the air by calling in at 812-855-0811 or 1-877-285-WFIU.

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