DO NOW:Early spring gardening tips

  • Goodbye, winter!: Now that the cold season is finally coming to an end, it’s a good opportunity to assess the progress you made and obstacles you encountered these last several months. Record the lessons you’ve learned so that your garden is even better the next time winter rolls around. While you’re thinking about it, plant some cold-weather favorites now if you’d like to see more bark and berries next season.
  • Prune: By the end of winter, deciduous trees need to be pruned. Remove unsightly and unhealthy branches, as well as sprouts emerging from the bottom of trunks. After the harshest winter conditions seem to have passed, fruit trees and grapes should be pruned as quickly as possible, before blossoms start to appear. Many other varieties that bloom after June 1 can be pruned too; just do some research because there are exceptions.
  • Fertilize: During that window of time, fruit trees also need to be fertilized, so kill two birds with one stone while you’re already out there. In February, cool-season grass like fescue could also use its first fertilizer layer of the season.
  • Plant trees: There are many kinds of trees that add life to yards and complement gardens, in fact. As long as trees remain dormant, you can add more. Trees that aren’t planted at the correct depth or watered the right amount for their species fail to grow, however, so study best practices to set yourself up for success.
  • Start vegetables: It’s good to be excited about planting season, but try not to jump the gun when starting vegetable plants indoors. Fast-growing types like cabbage need six weeks to develop on their own before being transplanted outside. If you’re getting antsy, ready low-growing types, which can be started earlier; varieties like peppers need a full eight weeks.
  •  Start seeds: Get the ball rolling this season by starting seeds indoors. The climate is warming up so check which varieties qualify for planting week by week. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are ready to be started. When it comes to flowers, some annuals take between 70 and 90 days to bloom; think about sowing petunia, salvia, snapdragon, and verbena inside as well.
  • Transition: Out with the old, in with the new! There are many ways to transition your garden to spring after a long winter. Crop lawns closer to the ground to remove old growth. Substitute tired mulch with a fresh layer. Refresh your compost and add four to six inches of organic material to soil at a time.
  • Rust: You may notice that rust has started to develop on some of your gardening implements and yard furniture while pulling them out of storage. Treat this problem by removing rust with steel wool and covering permanent damage with rust inhibitive paint.
  • Remain aware: Be flexible. Frosts can still endanger plants so evaluate the conditions before leaving your garden entirely vulnerable to the elements. You’ll want to begin removing winter protective coverings from plants but wait until the weather accommodates. When it does, clean coverings and other winter items before storing them in dry areas; they’ll be in good shape when you reuse them next winter.
  • Spring plants: Consult gardening notes, lists, and diagrams if you have them because planting season is here! With everything you know about your yard in mind, including past successes and failures, browse trees, shrubs and perennials in search of good additions to your garden. Start looking as soon as warm-weather plants are available so that you can take advantage of the best selection.
  • Plant outdoors: It’s still early in the season, but there are several plants that can begin growing in March. Make sure that the soil is dry enough then sow plants that are ready to go now, such as peas. By the end of March, eggplant and peppers can also be added to your garden.
  • Weeds: Don’t forget the best part: it’s time to start weeding again! This chore isn’t exactly enjoyable, but it’s a good idea to be on top of weeds as soon as they appear. Apply a pre-emergent early in season to stop weed seeds from germinating