Zinnias add a punch of color to gardens.

Joyous rain! You can almost hear the plants growing, especially the weeds!

Walking around between rain showers, it is easy to spot areas where there is lots of puddling going on. Poor drainage is something that may be corrected depending on where it is. You can also plant accordingly!

If poor drainage occurs in the perennial garden, it is an excellent spot for plants that love extra moisture like Siberian iris, or hosta in shady, moist areas. At the bottom of a slope or hill you could create a rain garden.

Poor drainage in a vegetable garden area can be corrected with adding several inches of finished compost (humus). You can usually get it by the truckloads at municipal composting sites. You can start by adding a 6-inch layer and tilling it in every year until the drainage improves.

This week I hope to plant my tomato transplants outside. I started them from seed late in March and they are the perfect size. Thought about planting them Saturday but decided it was a little too windy with the cold rains starting to make them suffer outside.

This year — in addition to using the cages that will of course tip over later (as usual) — I also have a new tip proof growing apparatus. In the spirit of re-purposing, I am re-using the frame from a wooden log type swing, covered with fencing to grow the plants on.

After removing the dilapidated swing portion, the fencing was stapled/nailed to the A-frame. The plan is to grow three tomato plants up each side. As the plants grow, they will be tied to and woven through the fencing. I can even stand under it, so it is a decent size frame.

To keep the bottom of the frame legs from rotting, we placed a landscape brick/block under each one. Assuming success, I will post a before and after picture later in the season. Dubbed the “tomato hut,” it might be my newest invention.

Also going in the garden this week are my favorite annual flowers … tall zinnias! I love them. They add a punch of color all summer and the bees and butterflies just love them too!

Noxious weeds

This year I got a jump on the season with spraying noxious weeds.

Noxious weeds left unchecked can take over and crowd out all the desirable native plants. I prefer to spray early when the plants are small and you can use less product. To avoid over spray, I usually use lower pressure by not pumping up the sprayer all the way. Nothing worse than drift landing on your non-target plants.

The main three types of weed chemical controls are for broad leaf weeds, grass type weeds and broad spectrum weed product that kills both broad leaf and grass types. There is definitely a correlation between the weather and the rate the plants die. If you are spraying in cooler weather, it can take up to a week to even seeing the start of plant death.

Weed plants, like burdock and Canadian Thistle, do not give up easily and may need a couple of rounds to kill them. If you can mow your entire landscape area, then you probably don’t even notice these weeds starting as you are always mowing them down.

Typically, these larger weeds — including rag weed — thrive on hillsides and woody margins where the lawnmower can’t get them. Using a weed whip with string or a blade can also be very effective and cleans up an area quickly. Use caution around trees that you don’t weed whip the bark off.

A month ago, I started my side-by-side Preen experiment. Yesterday, both of those beds where shuffle hoed again. The Preen bed did have some weed just starting in it, but the bed without Preen had a large number of pigweed seedlings starting. No significant difference yet — I will keep you posted.

The Mankato Farmers’ Market is now open for the season at the Best Buy parking lot on Adams Street on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. You can also follow the Mankato Farmers’ Market information on our Facebook page, as well as my Facebook page – Market Bakery.

To respect everyone’s health, and ensure that the market can stay open, please do the following if you plan to shop.

  • Stay home if you are sick

  • Send only 1 healthy family member to shop
  • Keep a 6 foot distance from others
  • Don’t mingle-Make a list to expedite your shopping trip
  • Wash your hands often, stations will be set up
  • No onsite consumption of food
  • Shop with your eyes, vendors will handle items
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