March is all about getting your garden ready for spring. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Although we usually think of the spring when it comes to gardening, getting ready now can be key to a healthier, more beautiful garden. Here are a few thoughts to get you started.
Family Gardening & Planning
Gardening is one of the greatest activities that can bring a family together. Parents, grandparents, friends and children can all work together to create a beautiful area for walking through the yard or adding a new look to the front of your house or deck. Imagine working together with your neighbors to create an incredible street side or block for people to admire as they travel through your neighborhood.
Done properly, a great garden starts long before the first grain of soil is moved.
Get together with everyone who will be involved in this year's gardening and have a planning party. Done right, this can be fun. Like any party, have music, snacks, whatever you might normally have for a party. Make sure you include some fruit and vegetables among your snacks. Not only are they healthy, but you might inspire some part of your garden to include edible plants. Imagine walking out into a beautiful yard full of pretty foliage and flowers to pick early morning herbs for your breakfast or tomatoes and strawberries for a picnic lunch.
Make sure you get input from everyone (especially the kids) when planning so everyone will want to be a part of all stages of keeping the garden perfect (planting, feeding, pruning, etc.).
Time to Assess Your Garden and Landscape
One of the most beneficial tasks everyone can do before the actual planning party is to take a walk and get a good look at your yard and planting areas to determine your needs. This can be done individually or as a group. Before you start planting, or even ordering, it is an excellent idea to make some decisions about what can stay and what must go, and you may want to determine if the time is right to increase or decrease the amount of landscaped areas. Here are a few things to consider:
- If you haven't already done so, now would be a great time to plan your garden. Build flowerbeds, arbors, etc. If you order kits, make sure they are delivered prior to the arrival of your plants.
- Make sure you have all of your tools and supplies ready. Clean and sharpen your tools if you haven't already done so and replace (or fix) any missing or damaged tools.
- Make sure you have stakes and/or trellises for plants that will need the support. Supplies can include everything from seed to fertilizers.
- Order your plants. Even though this may sound like a promotional plug, ordering from a company like Cottage Farms will insure you get your plants when it's time to plant them. If you wait, they might not be available.
- If the weather appears to be past the cycle of warm, cold, freeze... repeat, March can be a good time to transplant any deciduous trees, shrubs, bareroots, berries and hardy plants you have. Also, clear out any plants that didn't survive the winter. Prune trees and shrubs unless they've already budded in the fall. Avoid pruning early bloomers like azaleas and lilacs. When pruning look for and remove broken and dead branches. If you're still experiencing winter weather and freezes you should probably wait until spring gets a little closer before starting your pruning, transplanting, etc.
We suggest you draw your site on paper. Even though you may not be a professional artist, by sketching the existing items like your house, patios, decks, and other structures plus the existing plants in your landscape, it will help you to see how much space you have and how to spend the money you have budgeted for your outdoor projects. As you develop the master plan for your outdoor area, always keep in mind where you or your guests will be seated, and what you would like to see from the sitting position. More than likely you will want color for all seasons and all the time. Don't forget about the view from your favorite window or other inside areas as well as the view from the road or sidewalk. Good planning is essential in any type of project. We know with just a little time and planning you can map out wonderfully exciting projects that will keep you busy and satisfied for years to come!
Once you have determined where you need or want new plants, the next step is the fun part! It's time to research what will work in those areas of need. Take your time on this step. The number one reason that plants fail is due to picking the wrong plant for the area. So be sure to spend your time and money wisely and select the proper varieties for the growing conditions. Also, be attentive to the amount of care and special needs your dream plants require. Look for space saving and low maintenance plants. Plants with these qualities are becoming very common as breeders respond to the demands of the gardening public and develop these traits into their new hybrids.
Remember a wise old saying: If You Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail.
- When assessing your landscape, think about how much time you want to spend in your yard and garden.
- Maybe it's time to scale down your plantings and try low maintenance type plants, or maybe you have more time and want the thrill of growing a wider variety of plants.
- Are fresh fruits and vegetables something you enjoy and want to try or increase?
- Do you entertain and use your outdoor areas like an extension of your house?
- Is it time to add an arbor, deck, patio, or other outdoor improvement?
- Do you want to attract birds and other wildlife to your yard?