by Kate Wilson, Landscape Designer
Spring has been toying with us, with these unusually sunny days – sometimes warm and sometimes barely above freezing. It’s tempting to get outside and to get planting, splitting perennials and transplanting – maybe even wanting to throw some mulch down if you’re feeling really ambitious. Even though the enticing weather is bringing us outside, as gardener’s we do need to keep in mind the time of year – March. Yes, it’s only March. This means there is still plenty of time…PLENTY of time to get things going in our garden and if we try to push it we might be sorry. Frost and dare I say freezing temps are still the norm. And with that in mind, we need to pick our garden chores carefully.
Outside. Right Now: Start with starts. I’m planting cool weather crops in my garden right now, mostly from starts. Cabbage is a favorite as well as small head producing Broccoli. Kale and Swiss Chard are also good to plant from starts now. Salad greens, spinach, radishes, carrots and beets you can directly sow into the ground from seed.
It’s also a good time to edge your beds. Hand edging your bed lines will give your garden a crisp clean look….and keep that sneaky lawn from slowly intruding on the edges of your garden. If you can stand to, it would better to wait to mulch giving the soil a chance to warm up a bit more. It is, however, a great time to purchase your mulch because it tends to be on sale now.
Another great garden task: planting trees and shrubs. Right now is a great time to plant. Why? Because it’s sunny and cool and therefore, plants aren’t as shocked when planted. You’ll need to start a watering schedule for the growing season to encourage root growth before the summer heat sets in. And amending your soil with topsoil or compost is always beneficial!
It’s a great time to plant grass seed or to over seed in thin areas. It will be quick to pop up easily rivaling any weed seeds and you should only need to water occasionally (long periods between rain showers).
Inside. It’s also a good time to start warm weather crops indoors if you were planning on doing so. Peppers, okra, basil and annual flowers. Starting seeds indoors always sounds super easy, but it does require some equipment and TLC. Click here for more details on seed sowing indoors.
For now, enjoy the colorful blooms of the crocuses and daffodils. Tulips are even starting to poke out of the ground. Forsythias are blooming as well as the magnificent show of the Magnolias and cherries. Soon we’ll have our fruit trees in bloom and hold our breath in hope that a late freeze doesn’t kill off the flowers and therefore potential future harvest. And before we know it, Redbuds will be in full bloom and our perennials will be starting to wake up and more garden chores beckoning. I love this time of year and I hope you do to!