Done and undone. Two areas of my garden in Annapolis. One has been cleaned up. The other, not so much. Photos by Susan Reimer
If you have gardened for more than a single season, you don't need me to tell you what needs to be done as the weather warms and the ground thaws.
But indulge me.
I am one of those people who needs to make lists. It makes me feel like my life has order, even if it doesn't.
Here's a list of some of March's garden chores. Don't look now, but you are two weeks behind.Clean up first.
- Before you do anything else, clean the dead leaves, desiccated perennial foliage, twigs and debris out of your beds. Cut back ornamental grasses and liriope.
- Remove the weeds, especially the chickweed, which are already growing. Consider applying Preen, a product which retards weed growth in your beds.
- Break up last year’s mulch, which might have formed an impenetrable crust over some places in your garden.
- Turn your compost pile, which will start to heat up soon. You probably ignored it all winter. Harvest the newly minted "dirt" from the bottom of the pile and, using a hand cultivator, work it into the soil around your perennials, being careful not to damage the roots.
- Your bulbs are no doubt emerging. Dust around the shoots with Bulb-Tone to ensure strong bulb growth next year.
- Take your lawn mower in for blade sharpening, an oil change, new spark plugs and an air filter. This is the busy season for such work, so you may have to wait several weeks before your mower is done. Remember next fall to do it after your last mowing of the season so you won’t be up against a spring deadline.
- Apply crab grass preventer and fertilize your lawn.
- Plant lettuce and spinach seeds. You can plant parsley, now, too, as well as onion sets and peas. But make sure the soil isn’t too soggy.