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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of April 30, 2018
  • To determine if your vegetable garden soil is ready to be worked, pick up a meatball-sized ball of soil in your hand and squeeze it.  When you release your fingers, the soil should fall through your fingers to the ground; your soil is ready to be worked.  If, however, water drips out of the soil when you squeeze it or it remains in the form of a ball when you release your fingers, the soil is still too wet and you must wait to work the soil in the garden.
  • Vegetable gardens require one inch of rainfall each week.  Set up a rain gauge near the vegetable garden to see if your garden is getting enough water.
  • When the vegetable garden soil is workable, sow seeds of radishes between rows of carrots or beets.  The radishes will be ready to be harvested long before the carrots and beets begin competing with them for space, water and nutrients.
  • Forsythia should be pruned immediately after flowering.  Their new flower buds form by early June.  The branch tips of forsythia will root where they touch the ground if not pruned back.
  • Redefine the boundaries of landscaped beds and borders with an edging tool.
  • Divide and replant crowded summer and fall blooming perennials such as Shasta Daisies, astilbes, rudbeckia, coreopsis, sedum and asters.  Wait until the fall to divide spring blooming plants.
  • Chives are an easy plant to grow.  They are rarely bothered by pests and they hold their neat appearance all throughout the growing season.  They make a wonderful border for the perennial, herb or vegetable garden.
  • Mince some fresh chives and combine them with chunks of cucumbers, ripe tomato and feta cheese.  Add a splash of olive oil and serve with crusty bread.  Enjoy!
  • Moss is a great plant to help with erosion control.  It acts like a sponge and sucks up excess moisture.
  • The Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) is a small tree, reaching only 15’ – 30’ in height at full maturity with its canopy arching 20’ across.  In April tight clusters of rose-purple pea flowers sprout from the bare, dark gray twigs and branches offering an early spring feast for multiple species of insects, particularly bees.  As the flowers die back, heart-shaped leaves emerge that can be 5” across and are dark green with a pale green reverse.  In fall, leaves turn yellow.  The Eastern Redbud is hardy in zones 4-8.  ‘Forest Pansy’, ‘Merlot’, ‘Ruby Falls’, and ‘Covey’ are just a sampling of the cultivars available.

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