By JOYCE ARLEEN CORSON
When it’s your garden, you have a personal attachment. Someone may do the planting, but you will not be far away, not missing a moment of all that is involved.
It’s time to get busy, too, if you want to have fruit and flowers for summer. Finally we have reached May 15, the official frost free date for zone 5B as declared by the Weather Bureau, aka Mother Nature. From experience we know Mother Nature bats last so always stay on guard with seeds and tender plants. Cool weather into a low of 50°over night can give annuals and houseplants a jolt that will cause them to turn yellow or drop leaves completely. For house plants try to stay with overnight of 65° before taking them outside.
Designing and planting our garden, be it vegetable or flower, are anticipations for which I am ready. With comfortable, safe clothing, including style, and sharp tools make it easy to dig and prune vegetation safely. Actually easier on our joints and sharp clean cuts are much healthy for plants, they heal more quickly and resist disease.
Whether you will need to set a string or lay a garden hose for your design, once finished your work begins. Have your tools ready, mine are sharpened and easily accessible.
A desirable collection can include pruners, mini snips, perennial spade, telescopic expandable small rakes, and trowels all with blades of forged carbon steel. Solid forged tools, made with heat-treated carbon steel, are un- equalled in strength. This metal is a great asset for garden amenities. Use these tools wisely to cut only vegetation, not wire fences, moving or digging rocks. You may hear some say, why do I want tools that may rust and chip? Stainless steel will not rust, and it is good if you are not cutting, but it will not hold a sharp edge. Sharpeners, such as whetstone, are essential. Sharpen your own tools with a grindstone, or let your local hardware sharpen them for you.
Care given tools is next to kitchen cleanliness. After each use, wash tools, I use Dawn detergent with bacterial protection, dry thoroughly and rub with a light coating of olive oil. Plants sometimes have diseases, just like peo- ple, and you don’t want to spread disease around your garden. Store tools inside where it is dry. Keep wooden handles natural and refresh with manufacturer’s original formula. Mostly my tools are “hands off” unless returned in clean condition.
Comfortable clothing is a must, giving protection from insects, sun and aggravating unwanted plants. Purchase hats, gloves, strong shoes or boots and outer clothing that will resist tears and snags. Treat yourself to the best. Remember mosquitoes and other insects have a high sense of scent, especially carbon dioxide. Mesh fabric for cooling purposes make it easy for our scent to escape and mosquitoes can penetrate and bite you through mesh garments. I recommend some of my favorite purveyors for gardening success.
Good luck and think Blue and Gold, Happy Birthday, Indiana!