With the weather finally getting warmer, now is a great time to start preparing the garden for planting. While most people think the cold ground is too brutal for little sprouts to handle, there are a handful of hearty veggies that can thrive in the early spring. Let’s get the growing season started with these tips.
First, you need to prepare your beds or planters so your seeds can thrive. Once the soil is dry, you can start to turn it, but only if it crumbles in your hand. If soil sticks together like glue, you should wait or you’ll risk destroying the structure. You can topdress beds with compost to give the soil a nutrient boost when the time is right.
Once the soil is ready, it’s time to get planting. If you’re Irish, you know the old tradition of planting peas on St. Patrick’s Day for good luck. I don’t mind waiting a few more weeks, but getting them into the ground in early April is a must. They don’t call them spring peas for nothing!
After your peas, you can start to pop in other cold-tolerant vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. You’ll need to ensure they are protected, but getting them into the ground early is a good idea as they’ll get a headstart before the onslaught of pesky bugs and rodents. Radishes, spinach, and lettuce varieties are good spring plants too as they can generally survive a late-season frost.
If you have an indoor gardening facility, now is also a great time to get tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers started. The seeds can’t take the outdoors yet, but getting them ready to bask under fluorescent lights will ensure that you have a healthy harvest come summer.
As for other gardening jobs, early April is a good time to begin pruning apple trees, shrubs, and rose bushes. Deciduous trees and shrubs can be planted and now is a good time to get the lawn aerated. If you’re desperate for some color in the yard, spring-blooming pansies are a good pick for planters or beds since they do well in the colder weather and come in nearly every color under the sun. Daffodils and crocus are also popular and will make a nice backdrop for a neighborhood Easter egg hunt.
Of course, you know your own yard best, and getting in the garden too early can set you up for a disappointing harvest come summer. When in doubt, consult with your local gardening expert and use this time to get your soil in tip-top shape to ensure your plantings can survive and thrive this season.
Bob O'Donnell is the owner of O'Donnell Bros, Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro”. All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O'Donnell Bros, Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.