Vail Daily column: Gardener’s checklist for May | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Gardener’s checklist for May

The Wildflower Gurus
Dirty Hands
Vail, CO Colorado

Spring provides a sense of relief and calmness for many of us nature lovers. It’s filled with many “firsts,” just like the joys of childhood. We get excited about the first blooms in the garden, the first sounds of birds chirping, and the first few days of being able to wear shorts and flip flops – or possibly even go barefoot! Gardening is a great way to nurture nature and bathe in the possibilities of what our gardens have to offer. Start planning now to enjoy your outdoor landscape to its fullest. Here’s a basic May checklist to get you started on the right foot.

• Begin pulling back extra mulch that was applied last fall and removing leaves to clean perennial beds.

• If you still have it, leave snow on spring-flowering bulbs; it protects them from the cold.

• As soon as your bulbs start popping up, it’s time to start using deer repellent. Enjoy your tulips this year!

• If the ground is workable (not frozen or too wet), try turning your soil. This will expose insect eggs to the effects of winter and the spring freeze/thaw cycle will help break apart heavy clods.

• After turning over the soil, mix in a couple inches of compost or well-aged manure to a depth of 6 inches.

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• Find out what’s really in your soil, and even more important, what’s not in your soil. Stop by The Wildflower Farm and pick up a CSU Extension Soil Test Kit. Virtually all poor soil conditions can be overcome. Performing a soil test is the first step in determining a course of action.

• Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to lawns and gardens. You can also hand-pull or spot-treat weeds.

• Start considering pruning options for trees and shrubs.

• If the temperature is above 40 degrees for a few hours and there is no wind, you can spray bare-branched trees and shrubs with dormant horticultural oil to control aphids, scale, mites and other insects before the new leaf buds open.

• Start seeds indoors for cold-tolerant annuals like stock and godetia as well as slower-growing annuals like vinca, verbena ageratum, lobelia, petunias, salvia, nicotiana and impatiens.

• Start tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds indoors. Speed up germination by using a heat mat.

The Wildflower Farm has a complete line of garden supplies, with many new for 2012. Stop by for a browse. Classes are also a great way to be inspired and have fun. If a class interests you, please submit your request to Wildflower Farm.

Wildflower Farm is located in Edwards on Highway 6. Reach them at 970-926-5504 or email digit@thewildflowerfarm.com. For more gardening tips and education, sign up for Wildflower Farm’s educational newsletter.