The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Spring flowers & plants showing up at garden centers

Before we know it, it will be mid-May and the danger of damaging frosts will be over for our area. After that date, it is safe to sow seeds in the ground and/or set out transplants for warm season plants.

Garden centers are already stocking garden supplies and gorgeous plants for your yards and flower beds. If you need a little lift after all of this drab, cold weather, visit a garden center where the colors and fragrances of flowers and plants will give you some much-needed cheer. You can also get a head start on planning what you want to grow in your yard or garden this year.

Lately, some gardening questions have come to my attention and may be helpful for this time of year.

Question: What are some annuals I can plant this year that will give me color through the summer and will do well in my heavy, clay soil?

Answer: Annuals to try would include salvia, geraniums, vinca, moss rose, impatiens, marigolds, zinnia, cosmos, Mexican sunflower, celosia, and nasturtiums. Work a layer of soil amendments into your flower beds before planting and mulch around the flowers to hold in moisture when the weather gets hot.

Question: When I grow tomatoes, I have a lot of trouble with blossom end rot. What is causing it and what can I do about it?

Answer: Blossom end rot is the black/brown softened area that forms at the bottom of the tomato. It is caused by a lack of water during the blooming period of the tomato plant. Tomatoes need plenty of water and especially when they are in bloom and setting fruit. When planting tomatoes, I’ve also noticed that adding calcium to the soil seems to encourage more resistance in the plant to blossom end rot.

Question: What perennials can be divided in the spring?

Answer: When clumps of perennials become over-crowded, dividing them restores vigor to the plant. As a rule of green thumb, the best time to divide spring blooming plants is in the fall. The best time to divide fall blooming plants is in the spring. Whether you are dividing in the spring or fall, try to do it when the weather is moist and mild to give thedivisions the best chance to root and grow into healthy plants.

Question: What is the most important thing I can do for my flower beds in the spring? I don’t have enough time to do a lot but I want to do as much good for them as I can?

Answer: Probably the best thing you can do to improve your beds is to add a layer of composted manure to the soil each growing season. Work it in if you have time, or just layering it on top of the soil is also beneficial. That single activity will: improve the nutritional balance of the soil, improve moisture retention, increase microbial activity, improve aeration, reduce diseases, reduce pests, improve fertility, etc.

If you have garden questions or tips for other gardeners, send them in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .