First, let's borrow the next four paragraphs from a previous article: If you haven't already done so, now would be a great time to plan your garden.
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 seeds 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, now is 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 weather gets a little closer before starting your pruning, transplanting, etc. If your plant has already leafed and/or budded, don't prune.
As you purchase your plants, do a little research. Books, internet, neighbors, etc., there are many sources of good information available these days. Find out which plants do best in your part of the country. Though many plants are hardy across the United States, many perform better in specific environments. The best way to insure a successful garden is to grow plants that have a greater chance of being successful.
It's a good idea to learn what Hardiness Zone you live in. The United States Department of Agriculture has created a Zone Map that has broken the United States into Hardiness Zones. Knowing your Zone can help you choose which plants to purchase and when to plant them. If you'd like to find out your Zone, click here to visit our Zone Map page that has a handy Zone Finder on it (once you find your zone, use the browser's back button to return).
Just as a quick note: now is NOT a good time to be disturbing your bulbs. Even though March and April are basically when you start your garden, if you have bulbs in the ground, they've probably already started growing and could be damaged by digging them up or working near them.
Fruits When the Hardiness Zone opens in your area, it's time to put your fruit plants in the ground (or pots). Since the cold this year has been a little unpredictable, if you have an unexpected frost, just cover your plants at night and uncover them during the day so they can enjoy the sun. Once you no longer have frost, you can discontinue covering your plants.
Most Fruit Plants will benefit from full sun. See your planting guide for the best instructions on growing and maintaining your plant.
Plants will perform best when the soil is loose and rich. If you are concerned about the quality of your soil, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4 inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss. Adding Peat Moss can help insure you plants get the amount of water they need. Enriched with peat moss, soil will hold some of the water when you feed your plants and release the water slowly as the plant needs it. However, if you use Peat Moss be careful not to use too much in your mix. A little bit goes a long way. If you use too much, it will hold too much water. This would have the same effect as over watering and could lead to root rot.
And don't forget to make sure your soil is well drained. As we covered earlier, a raised bed or mound can help insure your plants don't receive too much water.
Loose soil + rich soil + well-drained soil = a good start to a great garden.
When feeding your plants, it's very important not to over fertilize.
Don't fertilize a newly transplanted bareroot plant. Wait at least a couple of weeks and until you see signs of growth/budding.
Using a water soluble fertilizer helps eliminate the danger of burning your plants the way a dry granular fertilizer can. Just like people and pets, plants need feeding. Regular feeding can greatly increase the health of your plants and the production of flowers and/or fruit.
And, just like people and pets, over feeding can be very bad. Fertilizing your plants once every two to three weeks should be plenty to keep your plants healthy. Follow the instructions on the container of your fertilizer to determine the correct amount to use.
For more information on fertilizing, click here.

Spring is Here! Let's Start This Garden