First Day of Spring Chores

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
en Español

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March 21st marks the official first day of spring. Thankfully, this means the days are getting longer and temperatures should start to warm. Many of us are anxious to get back to digging in our gardens. With the recent rain we have had, it may be too wet to work the soil, so consider other chores you can take care of until the soil dries out.

If you haven’t planned your vegetable garden, it’s not too late. Sketch your garden plan or use one of the online vegetable garden planners that you can find from mail order seed suppliers. You can still start seeds indoors, you just need a container, potting media, seeds, and a warm space. Once seedlings germinate you will need good light. Placing seedlings in a south or west facing window sill is not enough light, so you will need supplemental lighting. Inexpensive shop lights can be suspended above your seedlings. No need to buy expensive grow light bulbs, just buy one warm white and one cool white bulb and you will supply the color spectrum that the plants need.

If you left perennials in the garden for wildlife over the winter, now is the time to prune those back and clean up other debris in the garden. Some perennials can be divided in spring while they are still small. Many daffodils have bloomed with others just beginning. Do not prune off the green leaves of the daffodils until they turn yellow. The plants need those leaves to photosynthesize to produce food for storage in the bulb to produce next year’s flowers. Plant annuals to cover the declining foliage of the bulbs. You can tell when you can remove the dying leaves of the daffodil, by gently tugging on them – when they are ready to be removed, they will easily separate from the underground bulb with a slight pull.

You can add compost to ornamental beds. If you have mulch, rake it back, apply a layer of compost, then replace the mulch. If the mulch needs replacing, just add a layer of compost over the existing mulch, then cover with a fresh layer of mulch. Make sure not to pile mulch around stems of plants and don’t apply it too thickly.

Watch for weeds in the garden and pull or hoe them while they are small. Keep your hoe sharp and it will be much easier to use. Take the time to prepare your hand tools for the season by cleaning if needed, sharpening, oiling them. Lightly sand wooden handles and oil. Tools that are maintained will bring you many years of service.

Happy Spring!