Saturday, March 02, 2024

GardenDC Podcast Episode 184: Spring Garden Prep

In this episode of GardenDC: The Podcast about Mid-Atlantic Gardening, we talk with horticulturist Miri Talabac about Spring Garden Prep. The plant profile is on Senetti and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events and this week's garden tasks in the What's New segment. We close out with the Last Word on Gathering Grapefruits by Christy Page of Green Prints.

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:

GardenDC Podcast Episode 142: Hydrangea Care and Pruning

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 93: Pruning Tips

~ GardenDC Podcast Episode 103: Mulching and Weeding Tips

This episode is archived at: 

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SHOW NOTES: 00:55 Introducing guest Miri Talabac 01:45 “Were you born with chlorophyll in your veins and a green thumb?” host Kathy Jentz asks Miri 04:05 Miri talks about her educational background and how she later became a horticulturist 07:43 Miri talks about edible gardening in early spring 08:06 Cover crops are a great way to help protect the soil for the winter 09:18 Leave the cover crops debris if you can, because it's just a good free mulch 11:05 Miri says the first crucial step in starting a new vegetable garden is to find a good site, then to test the mineral soil by sending a sample to an extension service 12:57 The importance of knowing what’s in the soil like acidity and nutrient levels 14:55 “ with what you have instead of trying to change the condition to suit specific plants” – Miri 16:39 Kathy asks about wood chips and mulch 17:01 “Whether you go with a biodegradable or organic, in other words, a non-living mulch like bark or wood chips or living mulch, it's usually better to do one or the other versus neither” – Miri 19:27 Kathy recommends living green mulches as groundcover 20:05 Why Miri prefers the cottage garden-style 21:09 Sharpening and cleaning gardening tools 22:22 What we should be pruning at this time of year – like hydrangeas? 26:51 What to do with your vines at this time of year? Miri says it depends on the goal 29:45 “I think gardeners tend to think they should be [pruning] for the sake of the plant. And yes, there's some occasions that may be true, but generally no” – Miri 30:20 “I think people don't realize that some at least of these perennials and trees and shrubs are lower maintenance than they may think” – Miri 31:12 When to remove leaves and leaf litter, if ever? 33:20 “...benefits that leaving the leaf litter and the stems provides a trade-off to keep the disease suppressed… without having to rely on pesticides or any other intervention” – Miri 35:29 Pros and cons of leaving and removing leaves 36:59 When should we start dividing and planting new perennials? 39:04 “If a perennial is summer-blooming, you can divide and move in spring, and if it's spring-blooming, you can divide and move in summer or early autumn” – Miri 39:28 Factor in both soil and air temperatures 41:55 Soil temperature is critical for germinating her cool season edibles 42:30 Can we warm up soil prematurely? 44:37 Miri says to not start fertilizing outdoors because it “assumes plants need more nutrients than they do” 47:49 Kathy recommends to begin fertilizing for indoor plants and container gardens 49:07 How to reach out to Miri 49:59 Miri’s final advice for home gardeners prepping for the spring 51:40 Plant Profile: Senetti 53:03 What’s new in the garden this week? Daffodil ‘Rip Van Winkle’ 53:50 Check out local gardening event where host Kathy Jentz holds a talk on groundcovers on March 6 54:13 Learn more about upcoming rare plant auction held on April 27 in Wilmington, DE 55:04 Kathy Jentz’s book “The Urban Garden” 56:05 Kathy Jentz’s book “Groundcover Revolution” 57:26 Christy Page on Gathering Grapefruits and Gathering Memories 1:00:18 How to support the GardenDC Podcast

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Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Interview Edit and Show Notes: Hannah Zozobrado



  1. I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done


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