By Cindy Naas
It’s almost here!
Gardening season, for those of us who haven’t yet built a cold frame, is very nearly here.
Starting this month, Urban Garden Casual will be including a monthly plan of projects you should consider for the gardening season.
Yes, there is still snow on the ground, but the wise gardener will have a list of chores to accomplish even in this cold month.
1. Make sure you’ve sent for a variety of seed catalogs. There are so many to choose from, from the standard seed companies to those selling only organic seeds to ones specializing in heirloom varieties. You still have time to try something new in your garden this year.
2. Buy seeds. It’s definitely time to get your order in, if you haven’t done so already. Make sure to buy cool-season crop seeds for now and also buy enough for replanting for next fall. It’s important to remember that once gardening season is full on, life gets a bit hectic for gardeners and it’s easy to put off buying seeds in late summer. Why not stock up now?
3. Plan ahead for where you are going to grow your seedlings. This is the time of year that I rearrange my dining room to make room near a large south-facing window. If you will need a grow-light, now is the time to look for one and install it near where you will want to grow seedlings.
4. Sketch out a plan for your garden. Whether it is for a garden plot or a series of pots on your porch, make sure you have a good idea of what to plant where. Make your plan to include the succession of plantings- you might write down for a pot:
“lettuce and radishes, followed by tomatoes and basil, followed by fall arugula”
That will remind you of which seedlings you’ll need and where they go once a previous crop is through producing.
5. Start some seedlings. I start my tomatoes, peppers and eggplant the last week in February. Those in warmer climates might start a week or so earlier.
6. If you haven’t done so already, buy a gardening journal and use it religiously. Regular readers of Urban Garden Casual will suspect that I am a terrible nag, but a gardening journal can save so much time and money that I consider them to be an essential garden tool.
7. If possible, spread a layer of compost or manure onto your garden. There should be another freeze or several and maybe more snow, and this will help to work the mulch into the soil, preparing it for growing season.
8. If your main exercise comes from gardening, make sure to start doing some stretches now. Many of us fully intend to go to the gym every day all winter long. For those of us who never quite manage to do so, remember how your arms and back will feel after that first really good gardening weekend? Right- so in order to avoid the pain and perhaps a trip to the chiropractor, begin stretching now. You’ll be happy you did this later.