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Things to do in the garden now

By Al Cooke
Posted Saturday, March 21, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - You don't have to wait until Good Friday to plant your garden. In February, you might have been planting cabbage, carrots, and onions - oh my! Peas, potatoes, radish, and spinach. I know you've been looking at those catalogs. And with the warm weather recently, you were out checking the possibilities.

And with the return of cold weather, people sometimes forget that the spring garden is planted during the winter. For those folks and because people from other parts of the world don't even know when to start things when they finally get here ..., I have created a website of "Things to Do in the Garden this Month". There you will find month by month suggestions of things you might need to remember.

Even though the weather may be quite cold, there are many vegetables and fruits that can be planted now and in fact do better in cool soils. Take the spinach for instance: the seed will germinate with soil temperature as low as 40 F. It will thrive in the mix of warmer days and will tolerate frost. If you expect extremely low temperatures, you can protect it with a loose layer of straw mulch or leaves pulled up around the plants.

Depending on the weather, you may begin picking some of the outer leaves of spinach by early April and keep picking until hot weather. On the other hand, if you wait until early April to plant, then it will be May before you have any spinach to pick. If the temperature goes to 90, then the spinach will start to turn bitter and "bolt" to seed, ending your harvest just as it gets going good.

In our part of the world spring is often a better season for gardens than summer. Waiting for the "frost-free" date, moves most of your gardening into the summer. Summer is hot (for gardeners and plants) and demands more water. Late winter and spring in our area can be quite variable. But in most years, it's a good season for growing and gardening.

Looking at the list for March, you'll find about fifteen common vegetables that you can plant and links to information leaflets about them. You'll find suggestions about pruning and insect problem prevention. You can find whether to fertilize your lawn get and some suggestions about weeds. This website is designed to help you remember all the things you might forget.

Have a look. And if you have useful feedback, there's a link at the bottom of the page to send me an email. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

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