GARDENING REPORT: Clearing the Garden

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Now that we are into the growing season, it is time to clear out the dead items to make room for new growth.

On our Garden Report tonight, Julie Riley will tell you the correct way to clear your garden.

Julie Riley, UAF Cooperative Extension Services: "Well look at this mess in this bed. Well I'm going to have to do some pruning and I'm going to tell you how exactly to get rid of flowers and rhubarb and lilacs, the spent flowers and then we'll talk about raspberries a little bit too.

So we've got some rhubarb flowers so what you do is eat the stalks not the flowers. So we have to get rid of these, just like you do with harvesting rhubarb. You have to grab hold of it and twist it, the stalks and see if we can pull them up. So these are so fabulous, I don't know if I'm strong enough, but I'm going to give it a whirl. I'm going to go down to the base, grab hold, and then yank. And I didn't do it I broke it off.
But that's alright, you don't want these flowers making seeds, some of them are already starting to do that. So I've got a few seeds here but we're going to remove all these stalks and since I'm a wimp, I'm going to use lappers to get the rest of these off.
Well there's just no reason to keep these flower stalks on and less of course you want the rhubarb to seed.
It doesn't take as long as you think. Some of the master gardeners have gotten some nice rhubarb plants, but you'll have to wait at least three years and maybe longer.
So you'll need a different tool here, a hand pruner, and soon as the flowers have faded, you just go in and remove the dead flowers, and then that means the lilac will have more blossoms next year.
Okay, so you've got two weeks to get rid of your spent lilac flowers after they have done blooming.
Join me next week and we are going to talk about the flower show."