The weather here in Chicago has been great this Spring. The trees are all in bloom and the perennials are in a race to burst into bloom. We have not had a lot of rain which is a blessing and also a concern both at the same time. If you have trees and shrubs you planted last fall make sure they get some supplemental watering so they do not go into stress. The grass is starting to show a little sign of stress which this weekend should be eliminated by some much needed rain. All in all though this has truly been an early spring. It is a far cry from last year when we battle cold and rain all the way through May.
Tomorrow will officially mark the last average frost date here in Northern Illinois. And this weekend should see all the Big Box Stores overflowing with plant material. If you have not got your crabgrass preventer down you better get on it this weekend. It is a matter of timing and generally when the Forsythia blooms you should put it down and the Forsythia have done bloomed. It is now getting to be a gardeners time of year.
For some of the more brave souls the garden has already been roto tilled and even some plants are in. If you like to roll the dice you can even plant some tomatoes and peppers like several people I know. Me, I prefer to wait a couple more weeks. I remember back in the early 90’s when I had planted out the garden in the first week of May and then we had an early frost and all was lost. Okay sorry about the rhyme couldn’t help myself :>) Some friends of mine own a family farm and greenhouse operation and had just planted out over 1100 pepper plants to provide the Farm Stand. They had to scramble to get in more pepper plants so that they could re-plant. Wow was that ever labor intensive. That was a big lesson in gardening for me. Certainly the Cole crops and things like broccoli and Brussels Sprouts can be in and onions could have gone in last month.
If you have not gotten to the perennial flower beds yet you need to get them cleaned up and cut back. A good dose of fertilizer is in order and cultivate the soil at the same time. Be careful of shallow roots though. Get down your weed preventer too as it works before the weeds germinate and the soil is warming quickly.
This is the new year for gardeners so enjoy the season and get out and get your hands dirty as it will be giving you a lot of pleasure throughout the summer.