With days getting a little bit longer, nature waking up and the sun starting to shine, there are loads of signs indicating that spring is just around the corner. So, now is the perfect time to start preparing for the season to help ensure your gardening plans go without a hitch!
At the tail end of winter and the beginning of spring, it is time to start preparing your gardens for spring planting. But what is necessary to prepare your spring garden? Are there specific steps you really should take every year?
Yes! And today I will list them!
Gardening Jobs to do this March to Guarantee a Great Spring Season
From preparing raised beds to planting seeds, propagation to growing veg, stay tuned as we take a look at some essential gardening jobs for the month to ensure this spring is the best…
Know Your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. Before starting your garden it is important you know which hardiness zone you are in. You can type in your area code and find your planting zone HERE.
I live in Milwaukee Wisconsin, so I am in Zone 5b (-15 to -10 °F/-26.1 to -23.3 °C.)
Sow Vegetable Seeds Under a Cover
Whilst it’s still a bit too early to get your vegetable patch in full swing, there are still a few varieties of vegetables that you can sow under cloches or in a cold frame.
- Cloches are essentially purpose-made domes made from glass or plastic that can protect your veg from the cold and any pests. They also help keep the soil at an ambient temperature and prevent wind or frost damage.
- Cold frames act as mini-greenhouses and usually consist of a flat box with a lid that you can move around. They are ideal for overwintering young shrubs, protecting cuttings, germinating seeds or protecting tender young plants.
As long as you live in a mild part of the country with light/sandy soil, some ideal seeds to get started in February include:
- Early carrots
- Broad beans
- Early beetroot
- Salad onions
- Summer cabbages
If you’re not sure of your soil type, there are plenty of options for indoor or greenhouse sowing.
Have you bought your seeds? Don’t worry! There is still time!
Start Propagating and Indoor Sowing
Like growing things outside, growing plants indoors is all about the temperature. Propagators are compact, portable incubators used for starting seeds off inside during winter weather. They keep the heat consistent – sort of like a greenhouse. With one, you can start sowing veg indoors such as:
If you prefer some florals, there are plenty of plants you can start indoors like sweet peas, cosmos, and marigolds. If you don’t have a greenhouse or propagator, opt for a warm windowsill that can maintain a temperature close to 70ºF (21ºC.)
Plan Your Garden
This 19-page printable garden planner is your key to an effortlessly beautiful garden. With pages for mapping out your planting schedule, tracking weekly tasks, and recording monthly goals, you’ll be able to plan and achieve a thriving garden with ease.
Chit Your Potatoes
One of the easiest ways to grow potatoes is to chit them in February for planting mid-March to April. All you need to do is allow existing potatoes to sprout before planting. You should aim to have this done about six weeks before planting.
Chitting means putting potatoes in a cool, sunny spot indoors to sprout before planting, which allows potatoes to sprout green shoots before you plant them.
Potato sprouts tend to grow out of the bumpy indentations on a potato, so using an old egg box or tray, position the potatoes with the bumps facing upwards. Then keep them in a frost-free and light area like a windowsill or conservatory and wait. The sproutings should be short and bright in color. If they are long and white, it means they need more light.
Prepare Raised Beds
February is the perfect time to start getting your garden beds ready before the busy growing season gets underway.
If you’re planning on creating some raised beds, now is the time to get the building. Raised beds are particularly useful for those looking to keep their vegetables and plants away from kids and pets or in areas that have poor soil quality.
Raised beds can be affordable and easy to make as all you need is some planks of wood to contain the soil. But you can also get creative using sleepers, pallets, and bricks, and there are raised bed kits you can buy too.
Just Remember: A successful growing season begins with good soil. For any veg planting raised beds, ensure there are no weeds or pests, and fork in plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. Finally, cover the whole bed with polythene or fleece about two weeks before sowing to ensure the soil warms up and any weeds die completely.
Protect Fruit Trees from Frost
Whilst popular soft-fruit trees such as pear and apple are usually hardy, their blossoms are less so. If frost is forecast, protect fruit bushes and small trees by covering them with fleece to protect the flowers, especially overnight.
Spring frosts can destroy new flowers and buds, so examine your garden to identify any additional areas that may need protection. Don’t forget strawberry plants or fruits grown on fences and walls. The key is to make sure you protect the flowers at all costs, so think about using canes to prevent the fleece from damaging anything.
Prepare the Greenhouse
- Leftover plant material in your greenhouse can harbor disease and infect new plants, seeds, or veg – so chuck it out.
- Give your greenhouse a thorough cleanout by hosing down and brushing away any spiderwebs.
- Pick up and clean out your old pots and store them above ground to avoid pests.
- Clean all surfaces and shelves with warm soapy water.
Once it’s all clean and ready to go, it might be worth thinking about your watering situation. Plants in the greenhouse will likely require more water than those outside, so one great way to save water is to install a mini guttering system with a water butt to collect it all. An additional benefit of this is it will provide you with rainwater which is preferable over tap water for plants.
Prepare the Lawn
Spring and summer are prime growing seasons for grass, so now is a great time to get your lawn ready in preparation. Start by getting rid of any debris like rotting leaves or fruit, and treat any bare areas that might attract moss.
You can also trim around the border of the grass and add some border edging to neaten up the appearance of your lawn and prevent grass from creeping into plant or vegetable beds. Doing this also helps to reduce weed spread and minimize time spent trimming up lawn edges.
March is a relatively quiet season when it comes to gardening, so why not make the most of this time to prepare and plan for the upcoming spring season?
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