March is just around the corner and our weatherman is predicting mild and pleasant weather. Could 2012 be the Midwest’s year without a winter? Does that mean that March will go out like a lion? I certainly hope not. And that’s all we can really do– hope. No matter what, there are many things we can and should do throughout March in preparation of spring’s official arrival. Below is a list to help you get growing this season.
Spring Garden Chores and Reminders
- Plan your vegetable garden before you plant. Ask yourself the following: How much space do you have? How much light does your plot get? Most vegetables require six hours of light each day. How much time can you dedicate to tending? What do you like to eat?
- Start seeds indoors so they are ready to transplant when the soil temperature warms.
- Mid-March is a good time to plant cool season crops such as cabbage, kale, chards, cauliflower and broccoli. A cool-season crop is defined as a vegetable that grows best with temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F. Cool-season crops can tolerate light to moderate frosts, but are intolerant of high summer temperatures.
- If this is your first vegetable garden, have your soil tested before you plant. Your local Cooperative Extension Office can help with this.
- Prepare garden beds by adding more organic material to your soil and work it in about 6 inches deep. This is a good yearly habit to get into.
- Now is a great time to get your mower in for a tune-up or take blades in for sharpening. Do it before everybody else does to avoid long waiting periods for service.
- Pick a day to bring out any patio furniture and clean, repair, or touch up as needed.
- Clean, sharpen, and oil garden tools. Organize your garden shed/work area.
- While the garden is still dormant, take an objective look at “the bones” of your landscape and select areas that need improvement. Trees, evergreens, grasses and berry-covered shrubs will create structure and visual interest year round.
- Order mulch for beds and borders.
- On a sunny day, rake and pick-up fallen branches, twigs, leaves and any other debris from the winter months. Cut back ornamental grasses.
- For a burst of color, fill a few containers with pansies as soon they become available. Pansies can tolerate frost and freezing temperatures. Resist the urge to purchase warm season annuals until the danger of frost has past.
- Keep filling bird feeders this time of year as food is scarce in colder regions.