On Your March, Get Set, Grow!

On Your March, Get Set, Grow!

How on earth did it get to be almost March already? I don’t know about you, but time seems to evaporate on me. Although the days whiz by, however, this winter has been a great deal kinder to us and if the current trend continues we just might be in for an early spring.  This is a blessing because I still have Post Traumatic Storm Disorder from last year.

This is how the front of my house looked on March 5th in 2015. My husband had been shoveling snow off the roof, and the ladder got frozen in place. I don't think we were able to get it out (or get to our front door!) until well into April.

This is how the front of my house looked on March 5th in 2015. My husband had been shoveling snow off the roof, and the ladder got frozen in place. I don’t think we were able to get it out (or get to our front door!) until well into April.

This year is, thankfully, much different. I spoke to some of the volunteer master gardeners last week and several  have daffodils blooming in their yards. My bulbs are up but not yet flowering, but my ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel is in full bloom, about two weeks earlier than normal.

Most witch hazel  (Hamamelis) shrubs flower in the winter. They somewhat resemble forsythia, although they come into bloom a good two months before those plants. If you need a harbinger of spring in your yard, plant a witch hazel!

Most witch hazel (Hamamelis) shrubs flower in the winter. They somewhat resemble forsythia, although they come into bloom a good two months before those plants. If you need a harbinger of spring in your yard, plant a witch hazel!

 

Although a few of our eager beaver customers are asking about pansies, it’s about three weeks too early to plant them even in an early spring. But while we are getting ourselves in the growing season mind-set, here are a few things you can be doing in your yard and gardens so that you’re off and running once spring arrives.

Garden Tips For Early Spring

  • Play pick-up sticks. All of the recent windy weather has brought down sticks and assorted other debris from the trees. Picking these up now not only improves the look of garden, but it gets the area ready for the next task on your list.
  • Rake. It’s not too early to rake your lawn to loosen dead grass and remove leaf litter. Take leaves out of perennial beds as well, so that they don’t form wet mats that can smother plants.
  • Top dress with compost. Spreading an inch or two of compost or composted manure over your flower beds, veggie garden or lawn is one of the best investments you can make in your gardens. This keeps the soil fed and active, ready for the growing season. If you want to spread an organic fertilizer such as Plant-tone, Flower-tone or Holly-tone, do so before you spread the compost or manure; this will help hold the fertilizer in place so that it will be available to your plants later in the growing season. Note: do not spread a synthetic fertilizer now…it is far too early and most of it will just wash away before the plants are ready to use it.
  • Start seeds. March is a great time to get a jump-start on your flowers and vegetables. We’re here to help you with the right soil, containers and lights to make your seed-starting a success.
  • Top off raised beds. Over time the loam we use in raised beds sinks and the organic matter breaks down. If you see that this has happened in your garden, spread a layer of compost or manure, and then top with more loam. We can also deliver some loam and bulk compost that’s already mixed if you need more than 3 yards. Call the store and talk to Chris Stokes about the alternatives for getting your raised beds refilled.
  • The emerging bulbs are fine. Don’t worry that the daffodil and other bulb foliage is exposed to freezing temperatures. The life-force in these plants is so strong at this time of year that not much will stop them from growing.

6 Comments

  1. Diane Slater on March 3, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Another lovely little letter to read with my morning coffee!! We all make mistakes – BOY! Dot I know!! I’m glad you are getting help with that date and such editing – I needed it to at work. BUT! -Your columns are such a delight to read. Post Traumatic StormDisorder? BRILLIANT!
    Get Ready Macrh Set GROW? BRILIANT AGAIN!
    Keeps me chuckling and all the while I get good advice.
    Love it.
    Great and SCARY pic of last year – I totally understand have storm disorder and now another one blowing in- brrrr.
    I’m w the birds = wake up I & sing Spring.
    Thanks again for the chuckles and good garden advice!!

    • CLFornari on March 3, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Thanks, Diane! Let’s hope the forecast for tomorrow is off… in any case, we’re one step closer to spring.

  2. donna riley on March 3, 2016 at 7:49 am

    do you sell rhubarb? preferably the red stalked (Strawberry Rhubarb).
    also need help getting rid of a critter. small black guy who I think is eating the roots of roses and maybe peonies. they have a hole in the back of my flower bed. have dumped a box of mothballs into the said hole. also maybe this is the reason that I lost the rhubarb that was from my grandfather’s garden.

    • CLFornari on March 3, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Donna – we always carry Rhubarb. Right now there are packages of bare-root plants in the store, and the variety is Victoria. Later in the spring we’ll have pots of plants in the veggie section outside. Be sure to plant rhubarb in dead-on sun. Those usually come in sometime in May.

      NEVER put mothballs into your garden or anywhere outdoors. They are poison and don’t work anyway. Small black? If it’s a vole it could be eating your roots although usually rhubarb roots aren’t touched. Voles eat roots but moles eat worms and insects. We have mole and vole repellants you can safely put down holes and in the garden. If it’s a vole you can also try a traditional mousetrap baited with a piece of raw potato. Do not bait with peanut butter or other nut as you will catch squirrels and chipmunks, not voles.

  3. Mary Ellen Coulter on March 3, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I, too, enjoy these newsletters. I would love to buy an Arnold’s Promise Witch Hazel for myself. That photo was beautiful. I love the humor. Last years winter was enough for several years.

    • CLFornari on March 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Mary Ellen,
      We routinely carry ‘Arnold Promise’ – call D.J. at the store and tell him you want one!

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