GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — April was a tricky gardening month. Some years it's warm enough to bring an early start to the garden. And other years, like this one, late snow and cold weather keep us from getting our hands dirty.
In a cool, wet spring, there are some big dos and don’ts for your patch of earth.
Soil compaction can be a big problem. This is why we say “Stay off your lawn!”
Take care not to be walking in your gardens especially. Your plants will need those air and water pockets later for healthy roots.
Those roots, along with seeds and stems can sometimes rot in the cool wet soil regardless. Promoting good drainage with lots of compost and organic matter is the best solution here.
One thing you can do is make sure your plants have enough nitrogen to grow big and strong. Lots of rain like we’ve had this year can wash out the nitrogen in your soil. When you plant, watering with compost tea or a worm casting tea is the best way to give your plants the nitrogen they need from the start. Top dressing with compost or a slow-release organic fertilizer then will ensure there’s enough nitrogen throughout the season.
When we do get to planting, be on the lookout for a few diseases that thrive in cool, wet weather like verticillium wilt and Septoria leaf spot. Powdery mildew can be a big one, too. Catching these problems early is key to controlling them.
What we need are some sunny days to warm the soil and get the season on track.