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Robin Friedman: Lots of April showers bring plenty of May flowers
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Returning to Hall County this week after a trip to Japan to witness cherry blossoms in full bloom and my son’s wedding, I was welcomed to a full display of color and greenery.

My, oh my! What two weeks of rain and sun can do to a landscape and garden.

Thanks to my rich raised bed of soils, I found a number of volunteer veggies well on their way to producing without any guidance from me. Some of my herbs had gone to seed and pollinators were delighted with my absence.

As we approach the summer, a few tips can keep your garden healthy and happy throughout the warmer days ahead.

SOLID, RICH SOIL

Remember, the foundation of a healthy garden is rich, fertile soil. Without it, growing ornamental plants and vegetables will not thrive and reach their potential.

When planting this season, amend the soil with compost and organic materials to help with nutrition and water drainage.

Established plants need a little TLC, too. Give them the recommended fertilization in the growing season and inspect them regularly for fungal and insect issues. If you get a jump start now by scouting your landscape, it is easier to control the problem before it gets out of hand and affects plants’ overall health.

MUCH MULCH

I can never talk about mulching enough. The benefits of mulching include keeping the roots cool and moist and protecting plants from fungal disease spores that live in the soil, not to mention keeping weeds at bay.

Mulch acts as a barrier between the soil and plant. So when it rains or is being watered, the fungal diseases are not splashed onto the plants foliage.

Many gardeners do not realize mulching a vegetable garden is just as important as mulching other plants. Vegetables benefit from mulching, especially during the hot, dry summer conditions.

WAYS TO WATER

When watering plants, remember a good soaking at ground level is the best. This is especially true with garden vegetables. Overhead watering can leave water on the leaves, which may contribute to a myriad of diseases.

Always lay soaker hoses or water from a watering wand close to the base of a plant for best results. Dry leaves keep a plant healthy and happy.

Also, watering plants in the early morning hours or late afternoon provides the best results for good water retention.

PLAN TO POLLINATE

Pollination is very important in early spring for most flowering plants and vegetables. Don’t forget how this happens.

It is very important to attract pollinators to your yard through the use of various plants. The Extension office can provide a complete list of many pollinator plants in this area.

Many bees and insects are good pollinators, so be careful when spraying insecticides. Protection of bees and other pollinators is vital for flower and fruit production.

SPOTTING PROBLEMS

Last, but certainly not least, if there is a problem with a plant or veggie needing identification, seek help from the Extension office. Gardeners can bring a sample to the office, email a picture or call. We are here to help keep your garden happy and healthy. And we can provide information if you have a problem you can’t answer on your own.

Robin Lynn Friedman is the Master Gardener coordinator for the Hall County Extension Office. She can be reached at robinf@uga.edu or 770-535-8293.

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