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Ron Wilson showed he is just at home talking about gardening in front of a group as he is on Saturday mornings on the radio.
“I love to get together with folks and talk with you about gardening,” said Wilson, speaking to members and guests at the Hardin County Men’s Garden Club’s 50th anniversary banquet on Monday evening at First United Methodist Church in Kenton.
Wilson is the host of “In the Garden with Ron Wilson,” a nationally syndicated talk radio program on Saturday mornings. He also hosts an exclusive version on WTVN radio in Columbus from 10 a.m. to noon.
The remarkable early spring weather was a topic for Wilson, who has served as marketing manager for a large nursery/landscape/retail firm in Warren County.
“I’ve never seen so many plants in bloom at any time in my life,” he said.
Wilson said his biggest concern with the warm early spring is possible frost damage to fruits and berries, but expects that to be minimal.
One casualty, however, is the popular Mother’s Day gifts of lilacs, which have already bloomed. “Moms are going to get green lilacs this year,” he said.
Another result of the warm start to spring is weeds. Wilson said the dandelion – “probably the most hated weed in our lawn, is one of the first sources of food for honeybees.”
He said the best way to control weeds is to apply pre-emergent herbicide is mid to late October. This creates an invisible barrier to stop the weed seeds from growing.
Wilson said weeds move in as lawns thin out and the best defense is establishing a thick lawn. “Feed the lawn and spot treat the weeds,” he said. “I’m not a big weed-and-feeder.”
A good feeding of fertilizer in the spring and two times in the fall will help establish a thick lawn, he said.
Wilson is also a proponent of “bee friendly” gardening to encourage native bees to develop in your yard to pollinate plants. He said bee houses are a good place to start. People also need to be careful not to spray their plants between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. when bees are most active.
Another of his goals is to get more kids involved in gardening because gardening is not being passed along the way it used to be.
“It’s all our responsibility to get kids and grandkids involved in gardening,” he said. The best time to start this is when children are in the third grade, Wilson said.
One way to do this is to get kids involved in his favorite type of gardening – container gardening.
“Give them a container and let them grow their own edibles,” he said. But if they are not gardening for food, Wilson said, “Sunflowers are the best plant to get kids started.”
Wilson has been doing container gardening for 20 to 25 years – long before it has become a hot choice today of gardeners.
“If it grows in the ground my theory is it will grow in the container even better,” he said.
Plus, he said, anyone can have a container garden from age 2 to 92. These type of gardens can be developed at home, a condominium, apartment and even an assisted living facility.
“It affords all of us the opportunity to do gardening,” Wilson said.
Usually the larger the container, the better, he said. Plus, look for containers with drain holes on the sides at the bottom. Holes on the bottom will be blocked when put down. He also advises not to put clay chips or gravel in the bottom because this can slow down drainage.
Wilson said it’s important to start with good soil. Although it initially will cost more, the soil can be used year after year. The soil needs to be fertilized as well and people must remember to water the plants.
He enjoys growing such things as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. Another favorite are herbs for their pleasant smell and usefulness. “Herbs are probably the easiest plant to grow,” Wilson said.
By TIM THOMAS