Six Important Questions to Answer Before You Get Started Growing Flowers
-reprinted from the beautiful Floret Farms Blog-
- Plant peas, potatoes and parsley towards the end of the month directly in the garden.
- If you haven’t already, now is a great time to prune your fruit trees, berry bushes, and other woody ornamentals on your property. You want to complete this while still dormant and before spring growth begins.
- Direct sow outdoors seeds like Nigella, Poppy, and Larkspur so they get a few weeks of cold temps which will aid in their germination.
- The longer days and shorter nights will stimulate your houseplants to start growing again. Now is a good time to repot them if needed and give them a good feeding.
- Start transplants indoors of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant and any other cool season veg you’d like to grow.
- Avoid the spring rush and take your lawn mower and any other mechanized tools you use in for service.
- On nice days, turn your compost pile. Resist working your garden soil! Working soil when it is still too cold and wet creates compacted clots.
- Clean up any leftover dried debris from garden beds and toss in the compost pile.
- Buy a notebook and use it to keep all your gardening information. List what you plant in the garden. Include the name of seed companies, plant name, variety, planting date, and harvest date. During the growing season keep notes on how well the plant does. If the variety is susceptible to disease, record what was used to treat any problems. All this information will be helpful in planning future gardens.
- Place birdhouses built this winter outdoors this month. Birds will begin looking for nesting sites soon.
- Get a soil tester if you haven’t already done so.
- Towards the end of March, remove winter protection from any perennials you had in place, and pull back mulch from strawberry and asparagus beds so they can push through easily. Side-dress your asparagus with a gentle, natural, nitrogen fertilizer.
- Measure the rainfall with a rain gauge posted near the garden so you can tell when to water. The garden needs about one inch of rain per week from April to September.
- The first week of April should be safe to start the process of hardening off for transplant outside of your onions, parsley, and any other cool season crops that are at least 5 weeks old. Select smaller rather than larger plants of the cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) since overly mature plants exposed to low temperatures early in the season tend to bolt into flower too early.
- Direct sow carrots, Swiss chard, peas, collards, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, onions, parsley, parsnips, beets, leaf lettuce, radishes, salsify and spinach as soil and weather conditions permit.
- Sow seeds of hardy annual flowers (calendula, clarkia, larkspur, California poppy, and sweet pea).
- Keep “hilling up” potatoes.
- Plan new landscaping projects on paper first. Do not over plant. Be sure you know the mature size of each plant and allow for growth.
- Fertilize grapes, raspberries, and blueberries before growth resumes.
- If you haven't already done so, sow seeds indoors for eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes.
- Sow seeds outdoors for the following crops: asparagus, beets, carrots, chard, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard, onion sets, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radish, spinach, and turnip.
- Establish new plantings of fruit trees, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, and rhubarb.
- Raspberry canes that will produce this year's crop should be pruned back by 1/4 before growth resumes. Last year's fruiting canes should have been cut down to the ground after harvest last year but if not, do it now.
- Add organic matter to soil to improve soil tilth and drainage.