Although March did come in like the lion it can be, spring really is around the corner. And when those temperatures do start rising for real, be ready to grab your gardening gloves and hit the ground running.
- Although you do not want to prune any of your plants that will bloom this spring or early summer (think lilacs, roses, etc.), do prune those that bloom later and have no sign of new leaves or buds.
- Start seeds now for tomatoes and flowers that will be ready for planting in mid-May. (See #5 below for cool-season plants). Garden centers have a good supply of everything you need from seeds to peat pots, starter medium, and plant markers. You also still have time to order seeds and other supplies on-line, if you do it now.
- Chances are the greens you are seeing in your gardens and flower beds are not greens for a salad, but weeds you want to remove now while the ground is soft. Make sure you dig deep to get all of the roots.
- As soon as the soil is dry enough, you can begin to prepare it for your cool weather crops. But, NEVER WORK WET SOIL. It will clump and cause more work in the long run. If you aren’t sure, grab a handful of soil and make a ball. If it crumbles when you drop it to the ground, it’s ready.
- Add extra top soil and compost material to your freshly worked garden, as needed.
- When your soil is workable, sow your cool-season crops—lettuce, radishes, carrots, beets, and spinach. Some flowers like alyssum, cosmos, and sweet peas can also be sown now. You can also begin preparing your lawns for any areas requiring re-seeding.
- Begin transplanting perennials as soon as the soil is soft enough to dig. Doing this early reduces the shock to the plant and speeds its recovery for spring.
- Check those plants that have been in your garage or other storage area for the winter and begin preparing to move them outside as soon as daytime temperatures rise. But they should not be moved outside permanently until the danger of frost is over and night temperatures stay above 45. This applies to houseplants, too.
- Make one last check of stored bulbs and tubers to make sure they are still firm to the touch, and have not begun to rot or mold. Those can be planted in mid-May or after the danger of frost is past, whichever is later. And finally,
- To really get you excited for the gardening season, plan to attend the Licking County Master Gardeners Annual Four Seasons of Gardening Conference on March 23, 2019. National and local speakers and lots of gardening tips and information will make you anxious to get out and dig in the dirt. For more information, go to www.fourseasonsofgardening.com.
Submitted by Rosamary Amiet, Licking County Master Gardeners
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