Master Gardener tips for the Panhandle – Week of April 27, 2020

Here is the weekly crop of Master Gardener tips from Nebraska Extension in the Panhandle. These tips are relevant to local lawn and garden issues in the High Plains and follow research-based recommendations. This week’s tips come from Britni Schmaltz, Nebraska Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.

Planting dates: Have you caught spring fever? Each winter, most gardeners eagerly look forward to getting back in the garden and sprucing up their landscape. Don’t get too ahead of yourself. The average last spring frost date for our zone is May 10th. Meaning, unless sowing cool season crops, vegetable transplants and annuals should wait to be transferred outdoors until Mother’s Day or after.

Cool season crops: Are you eager to unisolate and sow some seeds? It’s not too early to plant some cool season vegetables in either your garden plot or containers.  Cool season crops include kale, lettuce, peas, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes, onions, and spinach, just to name a few. Plant some now and again in a couple weeks for succession harvesting. Before you know it you’ll be reaping the benefits of spring sowing.

Location, location, location: Thinking of trying your luck at gardening? Vegetable garden success largely depends on location. Sunlight, soil, wind protection and convenience are key factors. The area needs full sun, deep, well drained, loose fertile soil, wind protection, near a water source and close enough to tend multiple times a day.  All of these factors can be established in container gardens if you’re limited on space.

Are you in the (plant hardiness) zone? Knowing your zone is important before investing in your landscape. Here in the panhandle we are in plant hardiness zones 4 & 5. When shopping, check the tags and make sure the plants are zone appropriate. Simply because they are sold here, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll thrive here. So next time you shop for new plants, ensure they’re suitable for your zone so you can enjoy them for years to come.

Mother’s Day gardening gifts: Mother’s Day is May 10th this year! If your mother enjoys the greener things in life, why not feed her passion?  Gift her some gardening must haves. Examples may include hand pruners, watering can, vegetable markers, wildflower seeds, or gardening gloves. Even better than gifts is your time. This year, help her plant her vegetables or flower pots! Make it a new Mother’s Day tradition.