Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Beginnings: Tending the Garden in March

March is not too early to start working in the garden, depending on the zone where you live. One of the first things you should do when starting a garden is find out the climate zone where you'll be planting and understand the kind of soil you have. I'm in between zones 6 and 7. My soil is sandy, and my property is full of buried bricks. So my garden is a challenge, just like me.

We all have our quirks. One of mine is that dirt and rocks interest me. I had fun reading all about the dirt in my area to get an understanding of what grows well where I live. For those of you reading this blog from Georgia, I LOVE YOUR RED CLAY DIRT, by the way. It's the coolest soil ever. Utah folks, you have very cool rocks! I brought a whole jar home on an airplane when I was ten years old. One of my favorite things to do in the Spring, when I was a kid, was sit outside and crack open rocks.

Once you have a good understanding of the soil and climate, the next step is to pick a space and plan out a garden on paper. Last year I started a project that I'd been planning in my head for years- a Shakespearean themed garden. I did this by listing every plant ever mentioned in Shakespeare's plays, and finding the types that are suitable to grow in my area. This garden is a very enjoyable work in progress.

Since I already established my garden last year, this March I started tending it by just raking out the leftover leaves. In the process I found that many of the perennials were shooting up new growth. In the past Long Island has had March and even April snow flurries, but I'm banking on that not happening this year.

There is something thrilling and magical about seeing new growth sprout from a dead plant.

This discovery indicates that the weather is mild enough here to start planting certain things.

I took inventory of the plants that failed last summer. Since gardening requires a lot of trial and error, I learned the hard way last summer which plants do not like the light conditions in my garden.

There are several plants you can transfer to your garden in March. Trees and shrubs can be planted now, as well as hardy perennials like Pansies, English Daisies, Lavender, Hydrangea, bulb-type vegetables like onions, and many varieties of bulb flowers. I added some Boxwood to my garden to make it more formal, English Daisies and lavender. You can never have enough Lavender in a garden; it smells great and has many uses.

This is also the time to add your compost to the garden so that next month your plants will benefit from richer soil. Start fertilizing Roses as well.

March is the month to prepare your garden. Some light work now will make your plantings thrive later. Do your homework; know your soil, climate, and light conditions. These steps will lead to a better garden and less planting mistakes. I'll post more on my garden in April when things start blooming. I'd love to hear about your garden, too.


Catholic Chicks said...

I wish I had a garden! :(

Loren Christie said...

Hi Chick- You can do a container garden any where. Maybe I'll post on that in the future. I'm sorry you don't have a garden!

rhymeswithplague said...

You must be one of very few people who love Georgia red clay -- it is very dense and very hard to dig in, and it leaves horrendous stains in clothing.

Loren Christie said...

It's the coolest dirt ever. I might change my mind if Hell Hound tracked it all over the house.

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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