This nice weather is about a month late and the plants are more ready than we are! This weekend looks like the temperatures will be fantastic so there will be a lot of people out gardening this weekend.
Here are a couple of tips that are important for organic gardeners in the Chicago area to keep in mind.
1) DO NOT WORK THE SOIL WHEN IT IS WET !! The soil will set up like cement. This is a really big deal so please be patient until the soil has had a chance to dry out a little bit.
Here is how you can tell; take a little soil in your hand and gently roll it into a ball. Stand up and hold the ball of soil at your belt and drop the ball of soil on to something hard. For example; the ground or sidewalk or stone or even your shoes.
If the soil stays in a ball then it is too wet. If the ball shatters then it is dry enough to begin digging.
This includes after a rain in the summertime. It is not only for the Springtime.
I know a guy who liked to rototill his weeds (which is *not* a good idea) and he rototilled his garden after a rainfall in July and the soil was like sharp rocks for the rest of the year. Frost will soften the soil again so this is not permanent thing but it is important to know this point.
2) Leaf compost is the best for your gardens. As I mentioned last time, rake your leaves into your beds so they can decompose over the summer and feed your plants. If your neighbor is crazy enough to bag their leaves and take it to the curb then grab those too! Just grind it up with a lawn mower and add it to your beds.
Leaves are high in phosphorus which is extremely important for plant health. Do NOT burn the leaves! Many important nutrients go up in the smoke. (like carbon)
3) Now is a great time to feed your trees! Fruit trees can get an application of dormant oil to control insects and landscape trees can get an application of Miracle Gro and molasses. The Miracle Gro mix that I recommend is called "Bloom Buster" which is high in the middle number. I mix according to the instructions and also add an equal amount of molasses. I spray this on the trunk of the tree.
Trees absorb very well thru the bark of the tree and within 4 days the nutrients will be all the way to the tips of the branches.
I realize Miracle Gro is not organic but the nutrients are very high quality and help the trees enormously. Kind of like vitamins. Also the molasses has complex carbohydrates which helps balance the Miracle Gro.
Chemical fertilizers work much better when we add sugar to them.
4) Now is a great time to add gypsum to the lawn, as I have mentioned before.
That's all for today!
Contact Chris or I for expert organic lawn and tree service for the Naperville, Wheaton, Glen Ellen, Hinsdale and Fox Valley areas. DuPage and Kane Counties. We have been doing this for a long time and have a lot of experience working with these soils and this weather.
You can contact us at; [email protected]