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When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Posted by suburbanmd z7 MD (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 11, 08 at 10:08

When can I expect my herbs' springtime growth to emerge from the ground? Last fall I planted an "ornamental herb meadow" from seed. One section is lemon balm and catnip, the other is bergamot and purple coneflower. Some sun, some shade. They germinated decently well overall, and benefited from a long, mild autumn. Now the area is blanketed with winter weeds (annual bluegrass, chickweed, mouseear chickweed, sun spurge, deadnettle), and I'm eagerly waiting for the herbs to poke themselves up and start growing, and shading the weeds. Hand-weeding the 3000 sq ft would be quite a chore, so I'm hoping the herbs' natural height and vigor will win out. They don't have to be suitable for consumption, I just want them to look pretty and attract bees and such.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Many start to sprout about mid April to mid May. Some are earlier, some are later. The term 'Herbs' is way too general. I don't see weeds here now, only wet, muddy, bare ground with lots of oak leaves blowing around


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Good luck with combating weeds. Lemon balm, bergamot and catnip send up new shoots just before the onset of winter, so you should be able to see evidence of them now. The weeds are probably concealing everything right now, but if you look closely you should be able to find them. Echinacea (coneflower) usually disappears completely above the soil but the new growth is just below the surface waiting for the days to get longer and warmer. They won't start growing for several more weeks (I'm in the same general area-Northern Virginia). Pull all those winter weeds as they will drop thousands of seeds, go dormant for the summer and come back with abandon next winter.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Just a word of warning...if you are going to have some hard weather still (I'm unsure what kind of winter weather you have left in Maryland) and you are peeking in your garden beds, put any leaves or weeds covering your plants back after looking. What seems like junk is actually protecting your herbs plants from bitter weather, kind of like a blanket. Better yet, just be patient a little while longer and you can clean up the beds proper and see what is sprouting there. When your plants start pushing their new green growth, it is probably time to remove their winter coverings!

FataMorgana


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Thanks everyone for the info. I think I'll just sit tight until the herbs start to show themselves (I hope...), rather than risk disturbing them. They were planted only last fall, so they're still small. I went with fall planting this time, because my previous attempt at spring sowing was foiled by rampant crabgrass (inadequate soil prep didn't help either).


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Weeds are a common issue and will always be in soil, no matter what we do. One way to reduce weed seeds from sprouting (as well as ANY herb, vegetable, or other garden seeds), is to use Corn Gluten. Applying a coat of corn gluten creates a protien layer on the surface of the soil, which helps to block weed seeds and almost every other kind of seed from sprouting. Its great when used in an establish bed, were plants are already growing, and no seeds are to be planted. The nice thig about is is it breaks down into usable nitrogen for plants. I must say that after heavy applications in my asparagus bed, there has been nearly no weeds. The asparagus spears are very big, due to the nirogen the gluten leaves. I apply it every spring and fall, but on in areas were I have plants that sprout every year from their roots. There was only ONE place where it will do some harm and that is in some ground cover areas. I grow Periwinke (Vinca) as ground cover next to a walkway and because these plants send off runners that root, the main plants didn't do well, because the runners were not spreading it. That was two years ago, and I expect things will get better soon, now that its broken down into nitrogen. The periwinkle patch looks a bit poor right now, but I do hope it will start to spread again soon.
Another way to reduce weeds is with a heavy duty black plastic fabric mulch. I have reused the stuff I have here, for 4 years now, and put it back down after tilling in spring. Its got holes cut into it for each plant, and with this, the weed control is really good.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

I'm glad you mentioned corn gluten meal. I was thinking of using pre-emergent as an anti-annual-weed strategy. Can't assume a product that's safe for turf is ok for broadleaf plants, though. Sounds like CGM is working for you. But I'm still hoping that the 2-3 foot tall herbs will dominate the weeds, visually and nutrient-wise.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Preen has also just swwitched over to the gluten. Its also used for weed deterrent for lawns. The nice thing about the gluten as it breaks down to nitrogen and is great for leafy herbs. My asparagus love it, and are usually huge spears. If you do apply it, keep in mind that ANY seeds, including, lawn grass, herbs, and vegetables will not germinate in the soil its applied to. So starting seeds in pots and transplating works better. The amount used, is not critical and when I apply it, the amount is quite heavy. After about 3 years, less is needed as it helps to maintain that protien barrier.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

In my observation sprouting begins after forsythias start flowering.Just a general observation.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Only thing here thats showing any growth right now are my paperwhites. Next, usually comes crocus, then tulips and daffodils. Forsythia will be in there somewhere too, and then lilacs. Only mother nature knows when to wake up plants, unless you force grow them in a greenhouse.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

It turned out pretty good. Yes, I did end up yanking much of the chickweed by hand in early spring, at least where I could do it without damaging already-emerged catnip and lemon balm. This picture shows where the catnip/lemon balm section (left) borders the bergamot section. No purple coneflowers, just some basal leaves, probably thanks to deer. Only a few of the bergamot flowered; hopefully they'll all flower next year. This fall (or late summer) I'm going to try direct-sowing feverfew, mountain mint and lady's mantle together, in an area adjoining this one, only 450 sq. ft. this time.


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Almost a year later

They're a year further along, plus it was a rainy spring in the mid-Atlantic. Bergamot in the foreground and right background, catnip and lemon balm in the left background.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Very nice! I imagine that the local pollinators LOVE this patch!

FataMorgana


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Well, I'm not seeing as many pollinators as I'd like. Talking about the easily visible insects, not tiny ones: The bergamot is getting steady traffic of bumblebees, particularly when the sun is on it. But I think it could support many more. The catnip and lemon balm seem very underutilized. A few bumblebees find their way there, and I've seen an occasional yellow bee that I assume is a honeybee. We all know what bad shape honeybees are in, so I guess I'm lucky to see any. Maybe the bee traffic will increase, as this resource is discovered and more bees move in? As for butterflies, there are some, but not a lot. Bergamot is supposed to attract hummingbirds; haven't seen any yet, but maybe I haven't spent enough time watching.

Incidentally, we live down the street from a golf course, which is open to the public a few days a year when there's a tournament. I was amazed to discover that you can sit on the ground and have no insects buzzing around you, quite unlike our yard which is a mere errant golf drive away.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

The golf course is probably using chemicals to get rid of insects. I'm not sure I'd want to sit on their grass without knowing what they use. Probably one of the reasons you don't see too many honeybees.

F. DeBaggio


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Or maybe there's nothing in their turf to attract insects, since it's a chemically-induced strict monoculture.

Lack of honeybees is probably explained by the general decline in wild bee population, not the golf course's fault. The "meadow" in the picture is 200+ yards from their closest property boundary, anyway. I'm not in a golf course community.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Don't give up hope on the wild pollinators. The more "wild" areas you have (even if you planted them), the more they will eventually find your place and take up residence. I use no chemicals which is different than the previous owners and have let acres go wild. As the wild areas have increased their healthy populations of native and *sigh* naturalized blooming plants, the pollinator numbers have increased. It took us 4 years to see the first monarch butterfly find the milkweed on our property. Now they are regulars. I took some nice photos of Black Swallowtail caterpillars the other day. We also have hummingbirds, Yellow Swallowtail butterflies, a number of the smaller butterflies, honey bees, bumble bees, and more. Be patient. Plant native flowers. Don't weed-killer your yard - let clover and other blooming non-grass plants inhabit it. Skip the insecticides. Nature will find you....and the pollinators will come.

FataMorgana


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

There are some researchers that have linked the honeybee decline to certain pesticides. Keep planting those bee friendly plants, hopefully, you'll attract a few.

F. DeBaggio


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Honey bees are dying because of a tiny mite that crawls under the hard layer of their bodies and feeds on the soft portions of bees. There is currently no way to prevent this mite, or preventing bees from getting them. I have introduced orchard mason bees to my area here, and they are useful for very early blooming apples, peaches, and plums. They are the earliest of bees and live in 6 inch long cardboard tubes similar to long soda straws. Every fall, I replace the liners in the previously used tubes. The mason bees are only out a short time in spring and go back to laying and dying about mid May.


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

Yes, Varoa mites have been a problem for about 20 years now and have been responsible for dwindling honeybee populations. There are several treatments that are effective in reducing the mite problem so that the hive can survive. Interestingly, thymol, an oil found in thyme and other herbs is one treatment that showed some promise a couple of years back. Of course, the wild bees don't have access to any treatments so they continue to disappear at an alarming rate from the mites.
In my last post, I was referring to the recent, more devastating, disappearance of honeybees which is called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. The experts are not sure what the cause is. It is not mites or other disease. When beekeepers visit their hives in the spring, the bees are simply gone. Mites or disease leaves tell-tale signs, like dead bees in or around the hives or deformed brood. The current problem doesn't have these signs which is what has been baffling the experts for a few years now. One of the hypothesis is that certain pesticides are linked to the deaths of the bees while they are out foraging.

I'm sure this has been discussed at length on the Beekeeping forum.

I have been lucky, because my bee hive has not been affected-maybe its all the herbs I have growing on the property. The local beekeeper club found no indication of mites in my hive on a cursory check a few weeks back.

F. DeBaggio


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RE: When will new growth start in central Maryland?

On the positive side, the mining bee holes are taking over more and more of my yard every spring. But I don't think mining bees are pollinating this time of year.


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