March is here and in two weeks spring will be knocking at the door. After a long cold winter, it’s time to start sprucing up the yard and garden. So much to do and in so little time. But keep your eye on the prize, it’s all well worth the effort.
First of all, the “no brainer”… clean-up. Remove the debris that has accumulated over the winter such as leaves, twigs and any trash that might have blown in. Tie up ornamental grasses and cut them back a few inches above ground. Also, cut back perennials if it wasn’t done last fall. Any dead or damaged branches from trees, shrubs or roses can be trimmed now with the exception of spring blooming shrubs that flower before June 15th.
After your beds are clean this would be the perfect time to amend your soil by adding compost ... preferably, Lawn-Corps' compost (a shameless promotion). If you’re not sure your soil needs amending, consider having your soil tested. The University of Missouri Extension Center (816-252-5051) or the Kansas State Extension Center (913-715-7000) offer soil testing for a small fee.
March has traditionally been the time to plant your spuds, just around St. Patrick’s Day. This is also the time start planting seeds indoors under grow lights or by windows with good sun. Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage need about 4-6 weeks. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants need a little longer at 6-8 weeks. Larger, big seeded vegetables like pumpkins, cucumbers, squash or melons need only 2 weeks. Remember to always follow the packet instructions and transplant outside after all danger of frost has past.
If you’re starting your plants from seed, consider using heirloom seeds. They’ve been around a long time and contain no GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). In other words, these are the seeds your grandparents used in their gardens. They're the real deal and haven’t been altered in a laboratory through genetic engineering. Many nurseries now carry heirloom seeds or go online and sign up for free heirloom seeds catalogs. They're fun to go through and can be very educational. When shopping for heirloom seeds, the wide variety may surprise you. Some varieties date back to the 19th century! The best part of heirlooms ... the taste, the taste! When's the last time you bit into a real tomato? If you can't remember, this may be your year!
Well, that should keep you busy for a while.
Until next time…have fun playing in the dirt!