Meet Mark Cullen

Canada's best known gardening personality, Mark Cullen believes that Canadians of all ages need to play more - preferably in the dirt. A best-selling author with over 400,000 books in print, Mark reaches over one million Canadians every week through various media outlets. He is Home Hardware's horticultural spokesperson and regularly contributes to various magazines, gardening shows and newsletters. With a familiar style that people can relate to, he delivers a message that is compelling, fun, informative and inspirational - all based on his organic approach to gardening. In his spare time Mark enjoys driving his Ford Model A - and of course he loves to garden.

Things To Do...

~ March 30, 2011

With the forecast for much of the country being ‘excellent’ over the next few days it seemed only fitting that I help you get a leg up in the garden before you find yourself thinking that spring has passed you by and you missed out on all of the fun.

All kidding aside, I can help you save time and money – by being pro-active on a number of fronts.

1. Kill over wintering insects and diseases. Use all natural ‘Dormant Spray’ to bring under control many of the diseases and insects that wreak havoc over the balance of the gardening season. Dormant spray is not to be feared, unless you are a tent caterpillar or the spore of ‘maple blotch’ and chances are good that you are neither of these. Just because it is a ‘spray’ is no reason to think the worst.

Truth is, an application of Green Earth Dormant spray this time of year will save you a ton of trouble later by eliminating insect and disease problems that manifest in warm late spring weather.

When to apply? When evening temperatures are reliably above 0 Celsius (freezing) and stay there all night AND before the buds on the plants that you are applying it to have broken open in to leaf or flower.

What do I apply it to? Lilac, mock orange and most other deciduous flowering shrubs, all roses, berry plants like raspberries, most deciduous trees and of course all fruit trees.

2. Fertilize your lawn. Apply a good quality, slow release lawn food now (Golfgreen is the best, in my opinion. It is all that I use on my lawn). The difference that this will make in your lawn over the long haul is remarkable. Your grass plants will be thicker, greener and healthier. They will compete with weeds before they become established and your lawn, duly strengthened, will resist the damage of the common gray and white grub, among other ‘nasties’.

3. Over seed your lawn with fresh grass seed. If feeding your lawn sounds like a panacea, I apologize. The job is not complete until you have tackled the bare or weak spots in your lawn with a bag of triple mix, spread about 2 to 3 centimeters thick, raked smooth and a thin layer of grass seed applied. Rake that smooth, step on it with flat soled shoes to get it in firm contact with the soil and water well. This will thicken those thin spots like nothing else…. Apply the fertilizer before or after the seed. No matter.

4. Cut back perennials that remain standing from over the winter – right to the ground. Dig and divide the old ones that are too big for their space or are just not performing as they once did. Divide them and replant around your garden or give away to friends. This works really well with monarda, hosta, day lilies and the like. Leave the division of your peonies until mid September.

5. Rake, using a fan rake: your lawn and garden. Pick up loose debris that has arrived over the winter and compost the soft, brown stuff like last years leaves and perennial leaves etc.

If you are blessed with sunshine this weekend – enjoy it and remember why you started to garden in the very first place – it was going to be fun!

Keep your knees dirty,