Leafy vegetables, with natural antifreeze, are safe to plant now

Well.

Here we are at the end of April and many gardeners are crowding outside, wondering what to do and when. Perhaps there is additional excitement this spring as it appears that Covid-19 and its variants are somewhat remote in Michigan.

And some 2,900 people with homes and businesses in Midland are wondering what to do in the event of damage to yards and landscapes as Consumers Energy continues to update natural gas lines and service lines. The company is replacing lines (mainly residential) installed before 1955 and work will continue until the end of this year. More on that momentarily.


Kerry Noble, an amazing gardener from Sanford, doesn’t walk around. Her passion exploded this year as she and her husband, Jared, erected a 10-by-12-foot, 11-foot-tall greenhouse. It’s tiny by commercial standards, but roomy enough to start over 36 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. This week, she is preparing to sow seeds of kale, spinach, peas and other vegetables directly into raised beds.

“These guys seem to have natural antifreeze that built it up,” she said.

In effect. Many types of leafy vegetables can now be safely planted outdoors, directly in a prepared bed. The cold in April and early May does not bother them.

Many stores sell seeds, but probably none are more diverse in Midland County than Cohoon’s family lift, 802 Townsend St. Owners Sheryl and Steve Cohoon said they’ve seen a huge increase in recent years. the number of people wanting to grow their own vegetables. and root crops, such as potatoes and onions. Later in May they will sell the traditional grafts but now they are seeds and many can be started now.

They offer bulk and packaged seed throughout the store and especially in a seasonal kiosk at the back of the store where bulk grass seed is sold during the warmer months.

A hovering gardener/homeowner might wonder if it’s time to fertilize the grass and this year I would offer a resounding ‘no’. Lawn care companies have been working on this for weeks now and it’s a shame – because the feed is now forcing maximum growth – at the expense of the grass roots which need to develop now, when it’s cool. A well-rooted grass can cope with dry conditions more easily than a plant with shallow roots.

Lawns in the Midland region are slow to green this spring. Luckily we had plenty of humidity. It’s snowing as I write this (Monday) and I suspect as you read this ‘greening’ is underway, supported by warmer temperatures. Still, I would wait until after, say, May 10 before feeding your lawn. I prefer to use separate fertilizers and weed killers rather than a combination application because I feel like this uses a lot more herbicide (weedkiller) than necessary.

And back to Consumers Energy and the damage caused by new pipes and gas lines. Repairs to sidewalks and grassy areas are underway in the Noeske-Nelson-West St. Andrews and other areas. If I understand the plan correctly, a company in Davison, Mike’s Landscaping, has crews now working to repair sidewalks and other hard surfaces and other crews will repair damaged lawns with fresh soil, grass seed and a protective straw cover.

Enjoy your trimming and get ready for the joys and groans inherent in gardening and lawn care – those days are not far away.

Plant lettuce and kale in your family while you wait!

Ed Hutchison writes a weekly column In the Garden with Ed for the Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]

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