By LAURIE WURTH PRESSEL
To be a gardener is to be a lifelong learner. Every new growing season provides the opportunity to grow in knowledge, patience and appreciation of the natural world.
Whether you’ve gardened for one year or for 50 years, you may find these gardening words of wisdom from Hancock County Master Gardener Volunteers helpful as you prepare for the 2019 growing season.
• “Plant the right plant in the right place. Do some research before you purchase and dig. When you make mistakes, remind yourself that plants are forgiving.” — Peggy Biolchini
• “The best gardening tools are not always gardening tools. My best weeding and edging tools is a cement trowel. The sharp edges make edging easy. The point allows you to dig out weeds close to the center of the plant.” — Bob Campbell
• “Be patient when planting perennials, trees and shrubs. The first year in the ground they sleep, the second they creep, and the third they leap. It truly takes three years for a perennial to show its true mature beauty.” — Cheryl Miller
• “If you have a plant you love to grow in your landscape every year, but it doesn’t survive our winters, try bringing the whole plant inside for the winter or experiment with taking cuttings.” — Lynn Farwig
• “Learn about phenology, which is the relationship between climate and recurring biological events. Check out the Ohio State University’s GDD (growing degree day) calendar (www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/gdd/) where you can find out when important events will occur every growing season. For example, you can learn the date the adult Japanese beetle will hatch, and if you capture the first ones, you can prevent further infestation and damage to your plants.” — Rose Morrison
• “Spend a little time each day working in the garden. Pick a particular section of your garden and weed, deadhead, etc. That way you won’t become overwhelmed and it makes gardening more pleasurable.” — Marilyn Beltz
• “Don’t be too eager to plant your garden in the spring. If you plant when the soil temperature is too cold, the plants will tend to struggle and they won’t grow as fast. Plants that are planted at the right time — when the soil temperature is warmer — will outproduce plants planted earlier and the quality is much better.” — Patrick Flynn
• “If you don’t like a shrub or plant where you have planted it — maybe it just doesn’t look right — dig it up and replant it somewhere else. Just avoid replanting in the heart of summer when the heat will cause stress on the plant, and make sure you keep it well watered for that first year after replanting.” — Barb Sherman
• “Don’t plant more than you can care for, but do plant some early (peas, beans) and late (cabbage, potatoes) crops and even plant a second crop. Raise plants that have done well in the past, but experiment with a couple new varieties each year. Weed promptly. Be patient: Don’t harvest too early and spoil the richness of the crop. Most of all, have a fence to keep large critters out, and look out daily for smaller pests to rid quickly.” — Tim Brugeman
• “Mulching between rows of your garden will decrease the amount of weeding you have to do. Straw, grass clippings or dried leaves can be used.” — Judi Clymer
• “Mow your lawn to height of at least 3.25 to reduce weeds and to have a greener, healthier lawn. Fertilize your lawn at least two times a year with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn (around Memorial Day and Halloween).” — Bill Jones
For more gardening wisdom, follow the Master Gardeners of Hancock County on Facebook. We’ll post a new tip every day remaining in January! We hope 2019 is a joyful and abundant growing season for you!
Wurth Pressel is an Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Hancock County. Follow the Master Gardener Volunteers on Facebook at “Master Gardeners of Hancock County Ohio.”