Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Five March Gardening Activities

March has rolled in.  Yes, in some parts of our country March has greeted us like a ferocious lion bringing blizzards and tornadoes.  Here in the Northeast our March days have been gray, cool and gloomy, but you won't hear anyone complaining.  Are you contemplating your garden plans for 2012?  One of the online resources you might want to check out is the USDA's 2012 Hardiness Map.  This map should be your guide in choosing the plants that will thrive where you live, especially as you choose expensive ornamental trees and bushes.



The map is easy to use.  Just click your state and a close up view will pop up, like the example you see above, allowing you to key in on the appropriate zone for where you live.  This will help you as you shop for your plants, choosing those that are best suited for your zone.  Remember, though, that this map is a guide.  Talk with your neighbors and your local garden center professionals as you make decisions.

Have you started working in your garden?  Here are five garden activities you should consider this month:

  • Start seeds for cool-weather vegetables.  While it is too early to start most seeds, onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale can be started now if you want to plant them in your vegetable garden.  The early planted flowers like pansies, calendula and violas can also be sown in peat pots indoors.  Starting them now will get them ready for early-spring bloom.


  • Red Onions


  • Take a walk through your garden.  It's time to walk around your yard and assess any damage the winter may have brought.  Are there frost heaves?  Shallow-rooted perennials like irises and sedum may have roots exposed to the elements as a result of frost heaves.  This can cause  damage to the plants so wherever you see these frost heaves, gently step on the exposed bits of plants all around and firmly push them back into the ground.




  • Prune your trees and shrubs.  While the leaves are off the trees and shrubs you may want to get busy and start pruning.  This time of year it is easier to see the overall structure of the plants. An exception is with spring-flowering shrubs.  If you prune them now  you’ll cut off this year’s bloom.


  • Don't Prune Spring Flowering Bushes


  • Get ready for seed starting. If you plan to start seed, it is time to clean and sanitizing all of your trays and equipment.  Purchase your seed starting mix or peat pots and organize your seeds.


  • Buy Seeds

  • Make your plan for spring planting. It's time to decide what you will plant this year.  Will you purchase or start your plants?  A good rule of thumb is to start the seeds six to eight weeks before the last frost. What seeds do you need to buy?  You can get started buying seeds as soon as you see them in your garden centers or order them from your favorite catalog or online resource.



  • It's time to get growing...
    Enjoy!

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    4 comments:

    1. Thanks for visiting me at A Season for All Things. Since we live in the deep south, our gardening season is pretty long. Outside I have planted lettuces and spinach with radishes and strawberries going in this weekend.

      Thanks for the reminder not to prune spring flowering bushes.... ummm, sort of did that a year ago. Oops!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Ellen, lucky you to have a long growing season! I'm looking forward to getting started with my garden.

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    2. Great information, Donna. I'm not so much the gardener, but I love the idea and I think your tips are great.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Allie, I actually started out with some pots of herbs and lettuce on my deck. That worked out so well, it made me want a bigger garden. You should try a couple of pots and see how it goes.

        Delete

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