May the flowers remind us that the rain (and cold) was necessary.

Hello again!

The weather roller coaster continues. With a wind advisory the next couple of days, highs in the mid 60’s today and tomorrow, the lows drop again to the teens this weekend in Wichita; it’s spring in Kansas!

Years ago, our growing operation consisted of our current retail greenhouse at our 13th street store as our main production facility. After Theresa, Alice, Marie and Cheryl transplanted the seedlings, these wooden flats of rooted plants like petunias, pansies, snapdragons, alyssum and other cold tolerant plants were taken outside to free up space in the greenhouse for more production. Our ‘cold frames’ were wooden canvas tarp covered structures which were covered as the temperatures dropped in order to hold in the heat from the open flame gas burners. I've got great memories of lighting the burners by tossing a match to start the ‘furnace’ going!

Many of us have already planted our first spring bedding plants of the year. I’ve planted cold tolerant pansies and snapdragons and they are showing just fine due to the cold temperatures they've experienced. However, just to be sure with this weekend's temperature drop, I’ll cover the plants with any insulating cover I can find - a piece of cardboard, blanket or a piece of canvas tarp. My spring flowering bulbs will have to fend for themselves. The blooming daffodils and crocus as well as emerging tulips could be damaged with anything laying on top of them. I’ll water them thoroughly to form a bit of cold protection to the roots though.

We still talk about those old ‘cold frames’. While they're not producing any solar heat through a traditional greenhouse covering, they sure grew good, hardy plants because they were ‘grown cold’

Projects around the house as spring approaches include:

  • Raking sweet gum balls
  • Trying to get the lawn mower started to mow the first time - with some fresh gasoline
  • Cultivating around the pansies to eliminate the fall germinated chickweed 
  • Applying ferti-lome For All Seasons for season long control of crabgrass. With a few spots to overseed in my backyard, I’ll seed those areas and forgo the All Seasons to allow the grass seed to establish. Instead, I’ll apply ferti-lome Greenmaker as a timed release food to help with spring green up.

Be sure to stop by for our Spring Open House starting this Friday continuing through March 26th!

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center