Though a tad bit early, the recent relatively mild temperatures have put some of us in the “think spring” mode. True, it might be a wishful feeling, but wishful or not, signs of spring are indeed in the air now: days are slowly getting longer, the robins have arrived and for that matter, overall birds are chirping, exploring potential nesting sites, gardening catalogs are trickling in the mail, and most of all, our crocuses are blooming!
Realistically speaking, however, spring is still several weeks away even though some places start selling bedding plants way before after our last average frost date which is around the middle of April; planted too soon, such plants show poor or stunted growth if survive the late frosts at all. This is a good time, therefore, to plan for spring to avoid previously-made mistakes before the excitement of coming gardening season begins. Listed below are some random thoughts and ideas which, while might sound trivial, seem worth sharing:
- Sign-up for seminars offered by various organizations; one can always pick a new trick or tip not learnt earlier. Besides, it is fun to meet other gardeners in such gatherings.
- Browse through mail-order gardening catalogs to see what’s new and noteworthy for this year. (Ordering is optional!)
- Inspect the tool shed; for safety reasons and to avoid clutter, discard those tools that are damaged or not functional any longer.
- Make plans to prune when the time is right; proper pruning not only is rejuvenating but gives a tree or shrub a neat, clean look.
- To avoid buying unsuitable plants, check the planting locations for amount of available sunlight as well as the microclimate. Also, when calculating the number of plants needed for a particular space, it’s good to keep in mind a plant’s size at maturity. Plants are like puppies; they do grow!
- When making a tentative shopping list for spring, especially annuals and vegetable plants, delete the ones that did not fare well last year. It’s better to grow a different variety or cultivar suited for the location.
- Finally, though easier said than done, go easy on the winter-rested muscles. Believe me, I know the feeling!
CORRECTION: The headline in Gardening with Gita’s February 12 column should have read “Order early to avoid disappointment.” Village News apoligizes for the error to Gita and her readers.