Master Gardener Coordinator Miller Shares Gardening Tips | News

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(Malvern) – Spring is starting to arrive in KMAland, which means it’s the perfect time to revive your yard or garden after winter.

Mills County Master Gardener Coordinator Shirley Miller joined the KMA’s “Morning Show” on Wednesday to share some helpful landscaping tips for this time of year. While most people can wait to start their gardening, Miller says there are things you can do in the coming days around Good Friday. One of those items includes preparing for the potato season.

“The way to know if your soil is ready is to take a handful of garden soil, and if you can easily ball it up, it’s too wet and you’ll have to wait a bit,” said Miller said. “But if it crumbles and falls through your fingers easily enough, it’s ready to be planted.”

There are three varieties of potatoes that are doing well in the KMAland region. The Kennebec, Yukon Gold and Red Pontiac tend to be stocked in most stores. When you go to the factory, Miller says there are special instructions to follow.

“You should cut your seed potatoes about three days before you plant them, so they can have a chance to heal or stain,” Miller said. “When you cut them, make sure each piece has an eye or two on them. On the day of planting, dig individual holes or a trench about ten inches deep and place your potato pieces with the eyes pointing down and about a foot away.”

The early spring months are also the perfect time to get your lawn in shape for the warmer months ahead. Miller says controlling crabgrass at the right time is necessary for a healthy garden.

“You should get your pre-emergence herbicide applied before the crabgrass seeds have a chance to germinate,” Miller said. “But if the material is applied too early, the crabgrass that germinates later in the season will not be controlled. And if you apply it too late, some of the crabgrass will have already germinated. So, on average, the herbicide pre-emergence should be applied from early to mid-April.”

Miller also recommends maintaining a thick, healthy lawn throughout the summer to reduce the risk of crabgrass sprouting.

For gardening questions, contact Shirley Miller at the Iowa State Extension and Outreach Center at 712-624-8616. You can listen to Shirley Miller’s full interview here:

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