“We’d like to get started planting some of our vegetable garden. What veggies could we be planting now?” -Personally, I have always suggested making sure the soil temperatures are 45 degrees or warmer before getting started. And make sure the soil is not too wet when you attend to work or till it. Cool season veggies include peas, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, turnips, beets, potatoes, onions, radishes, cabbage, several of the Asian greens and more. Do remember these can also be grown in containers.

“Already seeing those dumb stink bugs flying in our house! Is there a spray to kill them?” -Those adults sort of laugh at sprays. Indoors, your best bet is to catch them in a tissue and flush them down the toilet. You can try the traps, both indoors and outdoors over the next few weeks and maybe catch a few that way as well. But again, sprays really have not been affective in their control. Physical removal!

“Is it too late to over seed some bare areas in the lawn?” -No not at all. The goal is to have the new grass seed in contact with the soil so it’s ready to grow when the temperatures are right. Remember, the seed must be in contact with the soil to germinate, so rake those bare areas before seeding to help expose the seed to the soil. You could also slice seed if needed. Feed the areas with a starter fertilizer to get those seedlings off to a good start.

“We have thought about trying our hand at growing a couple apple trees, but our yard is small. Would the semi dwarf apples work for us?” -Yes they would, as they could reach 12-15 feet high and wide. For apples that would take up even less space, take a look at the ‘Urban Apples’. These are upright columnar growing, getting 3-4 feet wide and maybe 8-10 feet or so tall. I grew this type of apple several years ago in very large containers and they did great. But perfect for smaller narrow gardens and easier to maintain. And yes, growing apples will require regular maintenance. But the results can be very tasty.

“When it gets close to 50 degrees, I have seen some bees flying around. What do they eat this time of the year?” -Great question! Those early warm days of late winter and spring, honeybees do a ‘poop’ flight to go to the bathroom and cleanup a bit. Dandelions can be one of their first early sources of food, so if you have dandelions in your yard or garden, let them flower first for the bees, then do something about the dandelions later. You can also help by putting out your hummingbird feeders (take off the bee guards) and let them feed on the sugar water until the hummers show up. Make yourself a promise that you’ll do all you can to ‘bee friendly’ in your yard and garden this year!

“I’m seeing those wild onions or garlic coming up in clumps in our lawn. What’s the best way to get rid of them before they take over?” -Maintain a thick healthy lawn is the first defense. Then if they do pop up, physical removal works nicely, but make sure you dig out onion bulbs, roots and all and pitch. Leave anything behind and they can re-grow. The other option would be an herbicide, and Bonide’s Weed Beater Ultra does a nice job on wild onions even with the cooler temperatures. Bruise the foliage before you spray, and it may take a couple apps, but that should get them. Oh yeah, one last point. They’re very edible (as long as you didn’t spray them first). Seriously.

“When should I cut the dead foliage off my ornamental grasses?” -Go right ahead and get ‘er done. It’s important to have the dead foliage gone before they start to re-grow. Same goes for those liriope and dead foliage on perennials.

“When applying my landscape beds pre emergent, do I need to put it on top of the mulch, or underneath the mulch?” -That’s a great question! And the answer depends on the situation! -If its bare soil and you’re mulching for the first time, apply to the soil first, then mulch. If your budget allows, a second application on top of the mulch will be helpful for weed seeds blowing into the mulch. -If you’re simply top dressing or freshening existing mulch, apply before you add the new mulch. -And if you’re already mulched and ready to go, simply apply to the top of the mulch. And in all cases, make sure that it gets watered in! As a reminder for those of you interested in using organic or natural products in your gardens, both Preen, Espoma, and Bonide now have their all natural pre emergent made from Corn Gluten. It needs to be reapplied more often, but it is a natural alternative for you.

“I have chickweed, henbit and another white flowering weed growing in my landscape beds and thin areas of the lawn. What should I spray them with to get rid of them?” -Use a rake and rake them out before they flower and set seed. Those started growing last fall, so not letting them seed is the first step. Using a pre emergent herbicide in the landscape beds next fall will help control some of the seeds from growing. And get the lawn thicker. Thicker lawn and those winter annual weeds can’t grow there. By the way, the 3rd weed you mentioned – I’m guessing it’s Hairy Bittercress. Google and see! But forget the sprays, just rake or pull them out. By the way, once again, the chickweed is very, very edible!