General Gardening Tips
The snow is finally melting, and your plants are starting to wake up. Time for us gardeners to wake up as well! Here is some possible damage to look for in your garden as it thaws. If you mulched your plants, used protective covers such as Plankets, or moved plants to a garage during the coldest spell, time to remove them and let your plants enjoy the sun (if any!) and the air. Look around your garden for cleanup you may need to do–including weeding!
Review our tips to jump start your veggie garden in a chilly spring.
Build new beds or containers. There are lots of ways to build a new vegetable bed. If you are building up instead of using existing soil, fill with Sky’s Raised Bed Mix, then add organic fertilizer and lime. For smaller containers, fill with potting mix plus organic fertilizer. (Sky carries a variety of containers, Tartar galvanized tanks, and ready-to-assemble cedar-and-rebar beds, or you can build from scratch.) If you’re using your existing soil, make sure to amend with plenty of compost, as well as fertilizer and lime.
Cultivate your existing vegetable garden; add organic fertilizer, lime, and compost to framed or in-ground beds. Refresh containers by adding new potting mix if needed and amending with organic fertilizer.
Install row covers, Hooplas, or cloches to keep early crops warmer and speed their germination and growth.
Plant perennial and bulb vegetables: asparagus crowns, bare-root strawberries, rhubarb and horseradish, artichokes, onion sets, garlic and shallot bulbs.
Transplant cool season vegetable starter plants when nighttime temperatures stay above freezing, or plant them under cover for a head start: arugula, Asian greens, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, kale, lettuce, onions, peas, spinach, Swiss chard. All hardy herbs can be planted now: mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme, etc.
Start seeds outside for: arugula, cilantro, fennel, peas, radishes, spinach, sweet cicely, Swiss chard, turnips. Most other vegetable seeds require a little warmer soil to germinate well outdoors. You can start many other vegetables indoors for transplanting later if you have a light setup or a sunny window. See our seed planting chart for what can be planted outdoors and indoors this month.
Plant seed potatoes for Saint Patrick’s Day!
Berry & Fruit Gardening Tips
Our best selection is available now. Plant your orchard now if you haven’t already.
Orchard Mason Bees will pollinate your plants as the weather warms. Build or buy houses for them, and purchase dormant bees if needed.
Fertilize berries with organic berry or rhododendron food.
If pests or diseases were a problem last year with your fruit trees, consult a Sky Nursery associate about sprays that can be used before fruit tree flower buds open fully.
Prune stone fruits after they bloom (apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches & plums).
Rose Gardening Tips
We have an excellent selection of roses at Sky, whether you want to add to your rose garden or plant your very first rose.
Prune roses and remove mulch from their crowns.
Feed with organic fertilizer when the roses start leafing out.
Fertilize rhododendrons, perennials and trees.
Plant early blooming perennials such as candytuft, rock cress, and bleeding heart. Early spring is the only time to get a wide assortment of perennials and rock garden plants as economical 4″ starts. They might be small, but they grow up fast. Invest a little time, and enjoy them year after year!
For instant color, plant cool-season color spots such as blooming anemones, dianthus, pansies, and ranunculus.
Shop for trees and shrubs for spring interest in your beds and large containers: flowering cherries & star magnolias, red-flowering currant and forsythia, rhododendrons, Japanese maples & more.
Start indoors to transplant out later: begonia & elephant ear tubers; seeds for annual flowers
Shop for summer-blooming bulbs: dahlias, gladiolas, lilies, and more.
Lawn Care Tips
Now is an excellent time to evaluate any drainage issues your yard might have.
With warming weather, your lawn will repay some TLC with lush new growth.
If moss is a problem, apply moss killer, wait 2 weeks, and rake out the dead moss. If you did not feed your lawn last month, fertilize now with a good organic lawn food such as Dr. Earth and add lime. Spot treat or remove any overwintered weeds. If bare patches need to be reseeded, wait until April. (Sod can be installed already; if you need over 480 square feet we can arrange delivery direct to your home Monday through Friday.)
If you see birds pecking holes in your lawn, thank them for eating cranefly grubs! Well-fed lawns can outgrow minor cranefly infestations, but if you find more than 20 grubs in a square foot of lawn, consult a Sky associate for the appropriate method of reducing your population before they do too much damage. You can dig up a square foot of lawn to check, or pour warm water with a dash of dish soap on a few areas and see how many grubs rise to the surface.
See our lawn care information sheet for year-round tips and for help with specific problems. Our experience is that regular organic feeding, yearly liming, and proper watering will enable most lawns to outgrow most problems.
Pond and Water Gardening Tips
March is here and your pond may be waking up. Don’t be fooled into jumping the gun. Fish may be more active, but it is probably still too early to feed them. Pond water temperatures should be above 50°F before you begin feeding your fish, and even then you should start slowly, with frequent small feedings of a low-protein food. A good trick is to watch your fish. When they start nibbling aggressively at your pond’s natural algae coat, it’s a good time to start feeding a spring/fall food.
March is a great time to divide and repot lilies and other pond plants. Sky has a good selection of pots, soil, and fertilizer to help do the job.
If you haven’t been cleaning the debris out of your pond, do it now BEFORE the algae bomb explodes. Skim out major debris, check the pads on skimmers and filters (flush or replace as necessary) and bring filters back online if you shut them down for the winters. PLEASE RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO EMPTY AND SCRUB YOUR POND. A healthy pond, unlike a swimming pool, should have a slimy coating on its sides and bottom.