Good Gardening Tips For Spring
vegetables and flowers
• plant early spring veggies when soil is workable.
Soil is prepared for gardening once it is free from ice crystals and crumbles very easily. Soil which is too moist is easily compressed, reducing helpful soil aeration. Popular early spring crops are peas, spinach, lettuces and leeks. To have a prolonged harvest, grow several varieties, each having a distinct maturation time. Follow these plants with broccoli, cabbage, radishes, kale, turnips, new potatoes and onions. Mulch very early bulbs if you reside in areas where freezing temperatures persist.
• protect new plants from hard frosts.
Early spring plantings are at risk from hard frost that may occur overnight. If you expect a hard frost, cover up new plants through the night using whatever you have on hand – an upside down pail or paper box (along with a stone on the top) or large flower pot, a mobile garden covering, or a cold frame. If your garden has the room, and your finances allow, a basic garden greenhouse is ideal for starting new plants at the beginning of the season and protecting them from unpredictable early spring weather.
• be a step ahead of the cabbage moth.
When the frosts have ended, the cabbage moth may appear. It lays eggs up against the lower stems of brassica seedlings – cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprout, kale, cauliflower. As soon as the eggs hatch, the seedlings lose energy and often die. Be ready to protect these plants from root maggots by protecting plantings with row covers or applying small pieces of barrier paper around the seedling stem base. Maggots will be more of a challenge in cool, wet soils.
• plant out crocus, lilies, daffodils, hyacinth and any other bulbs
Early spring is time to put out bulbs that have been pushed in pots or bowls inside your home. Some may blossom next spring, others may take two or three years to rebuild enough food reserve to support flowering.
• separate perennials. clear and compost perennial beds.
For less difficult handling try to time the dividing so appearing shoots are just 2 to 4 inches tall. Prepare new beds for perennial plants by spreading a 6-inch deep covering of organic matter (i.e. peat moss, garden compost, rotten manure) and work in deeply. Plants developing in deep, rich soil are less likely to suffer summer drought. Existing perennial beds are usually cleaned of older plant waste and mulched to prevent unwanted weeds. Mulch should be hand-applied close to, but not over the growing root mass of each plant.
Stakes can be placed in the soil now for sprouting perennials such as asparagus, which may need support for it’s large ferns later in the season in gardens subjected to wind. Make sure to fix the stakes well away from the root mass so as not to disturb growing shoots.