Paper Mulch, For home gardeners with limited space to devote to vegetables, paper mulch offers the following advantages: increase yield, earlier harvest, and elimination of hard cultivating work. The most satisfactory paper mulch fastening for small gardens has been found to be placing stove wire, binder twine, or laths_ along each edge of the paper strip, tying it down with wire staples every 3 or 4 feet as shown in the illustration. This holds the edges of the paper close to the earth and further checks evaporation.
Hardy perennials, especially summer—and fall-blooming ones, maybe divided now. For rapid multiplication divide as small as possible. For quick-blooming results do not divide any more than is necessary.
Tree-feeding is often incorrectly done. Any plant takes in its food and water thru the root tips, not thru the trunk of the tree. Tile sunk in the ground next to the tree trunk never furnishes the feeding roots with water. It is too far from the growing tips. Plant food, likewise, should be applied above the tips of the roots rather than around the base of the trunk.
Tender plants, such as geraniums and coleus, and vegetables, such as tomatoes and eggplants, should not be set out, until all danger of frost is past. Ten-days to two-weeks hardening in the coldframe will make them more frost resistant.
Evergreens should be fertilized, despite the average practice of starving them. Either rotted stable manure or a complete commercial plant food may be used.
Cobaea. One of the most rapid-growing annual vines is the Cobaea or Cup-and-saucer Vine. The flowers are bell-shaped, 2 to 3 inches long. The buds are green, changing to lavender as they open. The plant climbs by tendrils and in a rich spot will grow 18 feet tall in a season. The seeds are flat and should be planted edgewise, just as a penny is dropped into a slot machine.
The vegetable garden should include, in addition to radishes, lettuce, beets, sweet corn, and stringless beans, a variety of salads, a selection of the less-common vegetables, such as Root Celery or celeriac, salsify, Brussels Sprouts, and broccoli. Sow the seed now. The various odd onions, such as Multipliers or the Egyptian, should be included. Other varieties, such as chives, garlic, and shallots, always come in handy for flavoring, if for no other use. Chives are as ornamental as they are useful. Many people have come to look upon them as worthy plants in the flower border.
Herbs from the herb garden, when used for seasoning, will help make interesting salads. They may be grown either in a bed by themselves or in some of the flower borders. Among the flavoring herbs are sage, dill, anise, thyme, and Sweet Marjoram.
Clean Up. Finish uncovering the garden promptly. But do not throw the protection material away nor burn it, but pile it up for a compost heap, adding soil to it. In a few months you will have splendid potting soil. Give the perennial border and rock garden a careful cleaning up and trim off dead stalks. Fine, well-rotted portions of winter mulch can be dug into the shrubbery perennial border.
Rose canker is becoming quite common in the rose garden. The branches have dead areas, which seem to be the result of winter freezing, but this is a definite disease which should be removed by cutting back all branches to good healthy wood.
Many lilies can be planted in spring as well as fall. Lily bulbs lose a great deal of their strength by being out of the soil. When possible all lilies should be planted in the late fall rather than in the spring.
Feeding Shrubs and Hedges. Shallow cultivation to break the soil crust, where ope has formed, is advisable in the spring, and two applications of plant food annually may be made. In the early spring use complete plant food, broadcasting it at the rate of 4 pounds per 100 square feet of the area lying beneath the spread of the branches.
A second feeding should be given the shrubs about two months after the first feeding. This application should be made at the rate of about 2 pounds per 100 square feet or one-half the spring application.
Cuttings of many perennials, such as delphiniums, phlox, thrift, coral-bells, Sedums, Helenium, and the various species of pinks, can be made and inserted in a sand cutting-box.
Give privet hedges their first pruning before growth begins, remembering that when they are leggy at the base and not evenly branched thruout the length of the hedge, it is well to cut the whole hedge to the ground, allowing it to sprout up thickly. Do not hesitate to do this, as it is for the future benefit of the hedge. Dig into the soil a liberal quantity of commercial plant food.
The West Coast
Make cuttings of chrysanthemums.
Delphiniums. Powdered lime or coarse coal ashes scattered on the ground is recommended to keep slugs away from delphiniums.
Pampasgrass can be divided in spring.
Lawns can still be made early this month.
Vegetable seeds. Keep on planting vegetable seeds.
Water Garden. This is a good month to remake the water garden.
Chicken Wire. Protect with chicken wire netting young plants of which sparrows are fond, such as delphiniums, Sweet Peas, Ranunculus, and verbenas
Azaleas. Don’t forget that azaleas need artificial watering thru spring dry spells. After blooming, give them an application of cottonseed meal, which is one of the plant foods that make the soil acid and is therefore one of the best substances to apply to the whole range of acid-loving plants.
Vines. Interesting vines that may be planted in the South this month are balloon vine (Cardiospermum), balsam-apple (Momordica), butterfly-pea (Clito-ria), clock vine (Thunbergia) Maurandia, moonflower (Calonyclion), morning-glories (Ipomaea), paper flower (Bou-gainvillea), rosa-de-montana or love vine (Antigonon), and Spanish Jasmine.
Summer flowers must be those that withstand the heat, such as gaillardia, zinnia, portulaca, ageratum, Physos-tegia, petunia, and wishbone-flower (Torenia). For tropical backgrounds in moist shady places, bananas, elephants-ear, castor bean, cannas, caladium, Acalypha, coleus, ginger lily (Hedy-chium), and the ricepaper-plant maybe used. For dry sunny places use bamboo, yucca, agave, Chinese Hibiscus, Lantana, Cestrum, Clerodendron, and the Pampas and other grasses. And as a ground cover use the ice plant.
Dahlia seeds sown now will give very interesting and often unexpected results late in the summer. Remember, they may not be large-flowered, but decorative for garden and home use.
Butterflybush (Buddleias) are badly affected with red spider.