Exercise and harden before going out
Green thumbs up
to exercise that mimics gardening
Out of shape aches and pains can spoil the first month of
gardening. Avoid that by mimicking something you do outdoors to
practice that motion in advance.
We have a 20 pound granddaughter we can cart around. We tell her
to "Sit" and then pretend she's the big old hosta we're wrestling
out of the ground and up into a wheelbarrow. The trick is to lift
her using our legs, not our backs.
We've also done laps around the house pushing in front of us
wheelie luggage loaded with plant catalogs -- a warm up to our
wheelbarrowing form. Another approach is to loosen up the raking
muscles and harden the blister-prone areas of our hands by using a
broom to sweep a rug rather than running the vacuum.
Green thumbs down
to whisking forced bulbs straight outdoors
People ask: Can I plant this pot of gift bulbs out into the
Sure, but it's "snow go" if you just move them straight to the
cold from the warm. If they have only just finished blooming then
they have not finished forming next year's bulb. The bulb needs
foliage to provide the photosynthetic energy that goes into a new
bulb. Set it out without hardening it off and you
will pretty certainly kill the leaves.
Right: If a hardy bulb plant looks like this, it is probably
a goner. Makes no difference if it's planted in the ground or in a
pot -- although in-ground bulbs are less likely to be hit so hard
since they are in-tune with the weather and not so far above ground
when this level of cold is still occurring.
If your bulb plants look like this, let the cold pass and
check again. If the leaves are still limp and mushy, they're of no
use to the plant. Cut all that top growth away. If afterward some
little bit of greenery emerges, it may keep the bulb alive to begin
rebuilding. It can take a bulb a year or more to rebuild after an