What’s blooming in the bluegrass?
BY: CLAIRE RAMSAY
Despite the recent eternal winter of record rainfall, Spring is just around the corner, and Lexington will be in bloom before you know it. Many avid gardeners have already started seeds indoors, but the bluegrass is home to a variety of nurseries, greenhouses, and farms that can supply all your needs for plants, workshops, and DIY advice.
Everyone in Hamburg knows that a treasure of growing supplies and friendly neighborhood advice can be found just around the corner at Southern States Lexington Cooperative on Palumbo. Julianna Brakebill of Southern States says the vegetables to grow for the early spring are lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli. However, if you plan to work in a small space then the recommendation is to plant tomatoes, peppers, bush beans, and bush variety cucumbers.
When it comes to flowers and Kentucky soil, she says that most annual and perennial flowers that you can find in box stores and nurseries will do well. A few good ones for beginners are marigolds, lilies, impatiens, and sweet potato vines. If interested in shrubs and perennials try roses, boxwoods, lilies, and hostas.
Julianna’s pro tip: start small and grow a little each year. Try not to overwhelm yourself. Lastly, if Julianna was only allowed one tool, she said it would be a gardening hoe.
Southern States will host a “Vegetable Gardening for Beginners” Seminar on March 7 at 6 pm Agents from the Fayette County Cooperative Extension will be here to discuss tips on early spring gardening. Save on gardening supplies too — all vegetable seed and seed starting supplies will be 10 percent off.
Antioch Daylily Garden will host “DayLily Days” later this summer — the farm will be open for designated Saturdays during peak bloom season. Customers will be able to point to their favorites, which will be freshly dug on the spot.
Although many perennials get their best start in the fall, daylily lovers are not too late. Charlie and Lisa Farmer say they are very hardy and adaptable and can be planted at various times. It’s recommended, though, that they go in the ground in the spring after the last hard frost or during the summer or fall. If you decide to plant outside of that window, be sure to water frequently and mulch the newly planted daylilies.
The Farmer’s pro tip for first time daylily planters: try to visit a daylily farm during peak bloom season. There are hundreds of varieties that bloom mid-summer and that time gives future gardeners a great opportunity to choose from a wide variety of colors and sizes.
Bluegrass Blooms & Botanicals will be on site at the Lexington Farmers’ Market downtown with a variety of cash and carry bouquets this season, but they’re happy to hand out advice year round. Elizabeth Sainte from Bluegrass Blooms says if you are looking for spring blooms (tulips, daffodils, hycinth, fritillaria, muscari) the best time to plant those bulbs is in the fall. This will provide them the cooling period they need to hibernate. There are also quite a few annual seeds planted the first week of May that will give you an abundance of luscious flowers all season long, especially Zinnia, Sunflower, and Cosmo seeds. Tubers like dahlias can also be planted in the spring.
Elizabeth says the selection of vegetables that can be grown in Lexington soil is limitless, but recommends to start with what you love to eat. Her particular favorites to grow are tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, carrots, Kentucky Wonder green beans, Roma green beans, and Silver Queen corn. (PRO TIP: for growing corn in a small backyard, gently tap the stalks with a broomstick or garden hoe to pollinate your tassels.)
Bluegrass Blooms and Elizabeth thinks everyone should try to grow a few perennial flowers. They are low maintenance when it comes to fertilizer and water and will put on a beautiful show year after year. Elizabeth’s best tip for a new gardener: start small. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed when starting something new.
March 7 Vegetable Gardening for Beginners, 6 pm. Southern States on Palumbo
March 14 “Fish Day!” at Southern States. Now’s the time to stock your pond. 8 am, Southern States on Palumbo.
March 15 Chick Days begin on March 15 at Southern States on Palumbo.
This article also appears on page 9 of the March 2019 print edition of Hamburg Journal.
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