~ March 3, 2010 ~
Lions Or Lambs?
Last week I posted a
the Savvygardener Community site about whether you thought
March was going to arrive like a lion or lamb. Many of you weighed in with your thoughts and
most conceded that March would arrive like a lion. I also thought that after the winter we've
had that March too would arrive like a lion bringing miserable weather and more cold temperatures.
To my pleasant surprise it is somewhat lamb-like outside. The sun is shining, birds are singing
and yes, the snow is melting! I would like to think that we are past this dreadful winter but it
is probably still too early to make that call. We have seen snow in March and April, so I am not
putting anything in the ground just yet. Instead I am going to be thankful for the nice days we
are having and enjoy each to its fullest.
We might have thunderstorms this weekend - how exciting!
We could stand a good cleansing rain to wash away all of the sand and salt that lingers on driveways,
sidewalks and streets. What an exciting time :-)
Armed And Ready...
As the weather warms and you walk through your gardens take
along a hand pruner and cut out dead branches from your shrubs.
The living branches should be recognizable by the appearance of
leaf or flower buds. The dead ones are the "dead-looking" ones
with no green visible underneath the brown outer bark layer.
For more assistance check out
in our Features section.
Staggered Seed Start...
Getting the timing right on seed starting is pretty important.
Start too early and your plants will get leggy before it's time
to put them outside. Start too late and you miss out on valuable
growing time (especially if you want the first tomatoes on the
block). Seeds are cheap, time is unrecoverable. Instead of
starting all of your similar seeds (tomato for instance) at the
same time, try starting 1/3 of them each week for three weeks.
If warm weather is early, you'll be ahead. If cold weather
lingers you'll still have seedlings at the appropriate
If you are planning to core-aerate your tall fescue or
Kentucky bluegrass lawn this spring, reserve a machine now so
you can get the job done in March or early-April. Coring early
in the spring gives cool-season lawns a chance to recover before
crabgrass and other warm-season annual weeds start to germinate.
According to our friends at
K-State Extension core-aerating is one of the best things you
can do for your lawn. It relieves compaction, hastens thatch
decomposition, increases water infiltration and helps promote
better root growth. Pay attention to the soil moisture level
when coring. The soil should easily crumble when worked between
the fingers. If it is too wet, the machine's tines will plug and
it will merely punch holes in the wet soil, which increases
compaction. If it is too dry, the tines will not be able to
penetrate very deeply.
Time For Tomatoes?
A quick check of our
Seed Starting Calendar reveals that
it's time to start seeds for those warm-weather vegetables like
tomatoes and peppers. Tomatoes can be found in many, many gardens.
Why not yours? If you need some help getting started just read
Seed Starting Tomatoes in our Features
Thyme For Renewal...
If you grow thyme in your garden you may want to rejuvenate
your plot this spring. Thyme, a low-growing, woody perennial
herb, should be started from seed every two to three years.
This is because older plants produce coarser, lower grade stems
and leaves. Thyme seeds often germinate poorly when planted
directly in the soil, so it's best to start plants indoors now
for transplant later.
If you've walked through your garden recently you know that soils are
wet, wet, wet. We know you are tempted to start working that wet soil,
but there are some serious consequences to consider. Digging in the
dirt now means soil structure may be destroyed, forming large clods
that take weeks or months to break up with natural weathering. Use
of a roto-tiller is especially damaging in soils that are too wet. A
gentle spading will cause the least soil damage but is still a risky
proposition. It is better to delay planting a few days or weeks than
to try to till wet soils.
Now Cut That Out...
So, you think it's too early to cut the grass? Not the
ornamental grass! In early spring before new growth begins
you should remove the previous year's foliage to promote earlier
and more healthy growth. Use hand clippers,
a pruning saw, or sharp shears to cut your grasses back
to within 3 to 5 inches of the ground. To
minimize the mess try tying the grass into a standing bundle
"Yes! in the poor man's garden grow,
Far more than herbs and flowers,
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of
And joy for weary hours."
~ Mary Howitt