GETTING THE DECK READY FOR SPRING AND SUMMER The deck has survived another winter and now it needs some attention from us to get it ready for warm weather of spring and Summer. If your deck has cracks in some of it’s flooring, use a can of wood filler dry, and then sand it smooth. To protect and make your deck durable, apply a coat of wood or oil based deck coating that will make the deck repel water. Nail Down all nail that may have worked their way up. If there is mildew on the deck, you may need to spray the deck with chlorine bleach and let it dry a day before painting.
THE PORCH ON AN EARLY SPRING EVENING There’s still a nip on the evening porch but still it is enjoyable at twilight as the sun sets. The dogwoods are in their early stage of blooming and their birds are active at the feeders with robins on the lawn and crows cawing in the woods. The early spring lawn is really growing and rose bushes are now sprouting foliage. The porch is the ideal place to watch spring unfold right in front of your eyes.
THE BLUEBIRDS ARE MAKING THE SPRING SCENE Nothing is quite as bright blue as the flight of the bluebird, their feathers almost glow when they fly. Their population seems to be increasing and we believe some are actually living in the woodlands. Another factor is many homeowners and gardeners are placing bluebird houses in yards, trees and near their gardens. They do visit the feeders during the day but they mostly eat grubs and insects. They are certainly colorful and welcome.
CLEANING THE FURNITURE ON THE DECK As the deck furniture is pulled out of storage, get it ready by spraying the furniture with chlorine bleach and let it dry before attaching the cushions to the chairs. If your cushions are faded or worn, you can replace the cushions for about $15- $20 each. This is a good investment that will save your existing furniture and make your deck look new.
STILL TIME FOR A PATCH, BED OR ROW OF LETTUCE You can still plant a row of lettuce and it has time to produce, especially if you choose warmer weather tolerant varieties. Burpee has several varieties that can be purchased at Lowe’s, home Depot, Tractor Supply and at many hard wares and seed stores. Keep the lettuce well-watered ti cool it off as well as give it a drink.
KEEPING BIRDS FED AND WATERED IN EARLY SPRING The birds of spring are very active and also hungry as they now begin their nesting season. Keep the bird baths filled with water because even on cool April nights, there’s not much danger of hard freezes. Keep the feeders full so the birds will feel a welcome all day long in your lawn or garden.
APRIL IS THE MONTH TO SET OUT PERENNIALS Perennials are wonderful because they are mostly cold weather hardy and they continually bloom all spring as summer as well as provide pretty green foliage all winter. Perennials can be purchased in individual small pots at Webster Bothers Ace Hardware, in Walkertown, as well as most hard wares and home improvement stores. Perennials in these small pots cost around two dollars each. They are ready to plant in large containers for your porch and deck as soon as you bring them home. They will quickly respond and grow when you transplant them in larger pots. There are so many perennials to choose from and also many colors. You can choose from sweet william’s, carnations, diantus, forget-me-nots, chinese lanter’s, snow-in-summer, American bee’s balm, creeping phlox, candy tuft, hens and chicks, coral bells (red and purple), bugle weed and lantana. These perennials pay off year-round with every little upkeep. Invest in a bay or two of good flower potting soil to get these perennials off to a great start.
CHECK THE IRISH POTATO ROW OR BED TODAY As the month April begins, keep a close eye on the potatoes and when you see green sprouts, hill some soil around them and give them a drink of liquid fertilizer every ten days. If you apply 10-10-10 fertilizer, sprinkle it on both sides of the hills and pull the dirt up to the potatoes. Never sprinkle pellet fertilizer directly on potato vines or any other vegetation.
SOMETHING LUSH AND GREEN ALL WAY TO FROST The asparagus and panda ferns are the answer to something cool and green all during spring, summer and autumn and they can be moved inside the home to a warm, sunny location to provide greenery inside. The panda fern is an old-fashioned fern grown by my grandmother in Northamton County. She would use it along with roses on Mother’s Day to make corsages for friends, neighbors and relatives. The asparagus fern can be trimmed as well as the panda fern. These ferns can be purchased at all hard wares and seed stores for around three dollars.
THE NEW MOON OF THE MONTH OF APRIL The thin crescent of the April new moon will adorn the western horizon at twilight this evening. You can watch it wax into the full moon of April, which will appear on the eastern horizon after sunset on Friday, April 22, 2016. This full moon of April will be appropriately named “Full Pink Moon”. It may have a pinkish tint as it rises in the east just after sunset. The Jewish Passover will also begin on this night of the April full moon.
HERE’S TO HOPING FOR A LOT OF APRIL SHOWERS We not only would love to experience quite a few April showers this fickle month but also enjoy the fresh scent of these fresh April showers . We can’t blame it on global warming or April fickleness, but for some strange reason, we don’t seem to have as many of these April showers as we did at Grandma’s house. In Northampton County, we dammed up the ditch in front of her house when April showers seemed natural and abundant during the month of April.
PLANTING A COOL WEATHER CROP OF GREEN PEAS A tasty crop of green peas can now be planted in the early spring garden plot. They will thrive in the early spring garden plot. They will thrive in cool soil temperatures of early spring. It is one of the few vegetables that does not even need any fertilizer because they actually add nitrogen to the soil. A pound of peas will sow 50 to 60 feet rows. You can choose from Alaska green arrow, laxton progress. Garden peas will mature in about 65 days, which allows plenty of time to succeed them with a warm weather vegetable crop.
Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.