Be sure to plant enough vegetables for canning and freezing.
Direct sow hardy annuals outside or in pots or modules.
Forced flower bulbs such as hyacinths and daffodils, which have now finished flowering, can be planted outdoors in garden borders.
Grow a bowl of salad greens. Sow seeds or plant transplants of leaf and head lettuce in containers (or in the garden). If you stagger the planting dates, you’ll continue to enjoy fresh lettuce until the hot weather arrives.
Hardwood cuttings taken last year may need planting or potting now.
It’s time to plant warmer-season Bonnie crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash and cucumbers.
Lift and divide perennial plants now to improve their vigor and create new plants for your garden.
Make a second planting within two to three weeks of the first planting of snap beans, corn and squash. Within three to four weeks of the first planting, plant more lima beans and corn.
When planting corn install at least three rows. Corn is pollinated by air circulation, not by insect or animal pollinators. Planting this way will help provide more corn.
Now is the time for direct seeding annual flowers such as amaranth, asters, cleome, coreopsis, cosmos, flowering tobacco, marigold, petunia, sunflower, Tithonia (Mexican sunflower) and zinnias (all types).
Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies, gladiolus and dahlias into beds, borders and containers.
Put in a Bonnie herb garden this month. Start your herb garden with basil, rosemary, mint and parsley.
Sow lawn seed now on well-prepared soil and keep the soil moist while the seed is germinating. For an instant lawn, lay new turf and ensure it is kept moist until established.
Grow an Easter lily. If you plant the potted houseplant in the garden after it’s bloomed, you won’t see any more flowers this year but you’ll be rewarded next summer.
After blooms fade, fertilize spring-flowering shrubs and trees. Azaleas, rhododendrons, dogwoods and camellias will benefit from a good application. Always carefully read and follow package directions for the proper application rate.
Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to your lawn now for a boost to start the season.
Apply a slow-release fertilizer around the base of blackberry canes, fruit bushes and fruit trees to encourage good crops this season.
Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer by lightly forking it into the soil surface. Roses are greedy plants and will greatly benefit from feeding as they come into growth.
Fertilize fall-planted garlic and other alliums with a nitrogen source, blood meal or fish fertilizer.
Improving soil is different from simply adding fertilizer. Although fertilizer contains key nutrients, it won’t do anything for soil structure. For that, you need to add organic matter. With a shovel, to a depth of at least 6 inches, turn in (or till) two to 4 inches of composted farmyard manure, garden compost, leaf mold (decayed leaves) or milled peat. This will give the soil the ability to hold moisture, but not so much that it becomes soggy; a texture that roots can grow into easily; air spaces, so roots get enough oxygen; and a balance of nutrients for the plants growing in it.
Continue to remove any faded flowers from the winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring.
If you haven’t done so already, finish cutting back any dead foliage left on your perennials and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth.
Prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees immediately after they bloom to avoid removing next season’s buds.
Make sure your garden is receiving at least one inch of rainfall/irrigation a week from now until fall.
Measure the rainfall with a rain gauge posted near the garden, but not near a building or tall plant for an accurate measurement so you can tell when to water.
As you do your spring planting, be sure to plan how you will water this summer. Place those requiring the most water closer to the house.
Remember the pots planted this spring will need to be watered daily this summer. Consider how much time you will have for watering each day before planting. Hanging baskets may need to be watered as often as twice a day in the heat of summer.
Do not plant your tomatoes, peppers, potatoes or eggplants in the same place year after year. They’re all kin to one another and diseases can easily built up in the soil, so make sure to rotate your crops, even on a small scale.
Do not work in your garden when the foliage is wet to avoid spreading diseases from one plant to another.
Get rid of snails and slugs any way you can! Some ideas include hand-picking, lures and traps, beer, yeast or honey mixtures, dry dog or cat food traps, copper deterrents, scratchy things like eggshells or diatomaceous earth, ducks or snakes, predatory decollate snails, organic or chemical baits, coffee grounds, vinegar or herbal repellent/barrier.
Keep an eye out for pests and diseases on trees and shrubs. Be especially on the lookout for azalea lace bug on azaleas. Look on the undersides of leaves for evidence of this small sucking insect.
Keep on top of weeding now that the weather is warming up. Run a hoe through beds and borders. Apply weed killer to perennial weeds in paving and patios.
Not sure what’s bugging your plants? Your local Co-op store can help identify garden pests, as well as offer recommended controls for your area and situation. As always with crop protectants, read and follow all label directions carefully.
Stay on top of garden maintenance tasks. Get rid of weeds the second they’re noticed in the garden. You can help prevent weeds from popping up during the growing season by applying mulch to clean beds.
Use a pre-emergent herbicide (weed killer) to control grassy weeds such as crabgrass in the lawn.
Apply a layer of mulch around your perennials, trees and shrubs before the hot weather arrives. Use organic matter such as well-rotted manure.
Apply mulch to landscape beds and borders. Mulch helps conserve soil moisture and eliminate weeds, as well as provides a finished look to your property. A 2-inch layer is all you need. Keep mulch several inches away from the crowns of plants.
Build raised beds to take the bending out of growing vegetables.
Check any tree ties to make sure the tie is not cutting into the trunk. Loosen any that are tight to allow the trunk room to expand.
Check compost bins to see if there is any compost ready to use.
Clean up the patio furniture and outdoor accessories, and prepare containers for planting so you’ll be ready to enjoy the garden this spring!
Clear compost bin(s) by the end of the month to make room for your own garden debris and all the grass clippings you will pick up from the curbs of your neighborhood!
Cultivate to control weeds and grass, to break crusty soil and to provide aeration.
Dig in a 2-inch (or more) layer of compost, well-rotted manure or green waste into beds to prepare for the growing season.
Harvest cool-season crops regularly; keep them watered and weeded.
Honeysuckle and clematis will be putting on growth; tie in new stems to train the plant along its support.
If any garden plants need supporting this year, put the supports in now so the plants grow up through them. Adding supports afterward is difficult and may damage the plant.
If you haven’t already, give the greenhouse a thorough scrub with hot soapy water to get rid of pests and diseases, and to let in more light.
Keep adding kitchen scraps and grass clippings to your compost pile.
Let the foliage of spring-flowering bulbs fully ripen before removing them. Allowing the leaves to naturally yellow and wither helps bulbs store needed energy for next year’s flowers. Unattractive, yellowing foliage can be tucked around other emerging perennials, or plant annuals in the flower bed to keep the garden looking neat and pretty.
Maintain mulch between garden rows to keep down weeds.
Make sure birdbaths and bird feeders are kept full to encourage birds to your garden.
Mulch around the base of cool-season crops to keep their roots cool and moist.
Mulch fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost, taking care not to mound mulch around the trunk. Top-dress patio dwarf fruit trees with fresh compost and a slow-release fertilizer.
Recut lawn edges to straighten them up. Try installing lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.
Remove dirt from your paths and paving before summer arrives. Use a pressure washer or special patio cleaner.
Replenish your mulch!
Select new azalea and rhododendron bushes while they’re in bloom to make sure the color complements your landscape.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses to supports.
Top up raised beds with compost and good-quality topsoil.
Use a garden journal to keep track of which seeds you are sowing and when they were sown and planted out - it really helps later in the year.
Winter is finally over and everywhere you turn in the garden there is so much to do you can’t decide where to start. When you finally get in gear, don’t overdo it! Unless you’ve been exercising inside, it’s probably been a few months since you gave those muscles, joints and bones a good workout. Start slowly to avoid a serious injury.