March: It’S The Month All You Gardeners Have Been Waiting For!

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We have all been patiently waiting for winter to relinquish its painful stranglehold of the climate here in Nashville. If you're like me you rise early every Saturday morning hopeful that today will be the day of my triumphant return to digging, planting, and weeding. The end of winter weather doesn't come on any particular day, but the beginning of spring calls all green thumbs back to our gardens.
Is it time to garden? I know we are all chomping at the bits here, but wait for soil to dry and any frost to disappear before moving dirt.

Phase 1- Cleaning
If you can't wait to get out in the yard but it's too early to plant anything, begin by cleaning your garden. Sticks and stones can be removed from your flower beds. It's possible that wind and rain will undo all your hard work, but at least it's a start. After removing sticks and stones you can begin removing weeds that have braved the long winter. The best time is to remove these weeds is before you start planting and before they can strengthen their foothold in your flower bed.

Phase 2 - Preparing the Soil
When the soil becomes crumbly (not sodden) you can begin working it to make it as rich as possible. Begin by working several inches of compost and all-natural organic fertilizer into the dirt. Also, locally produced mulch can be ordered and used to further enhance the soil.

Phase 3 - Inventory
Go through any leftover seeds and consult a seed viability chart to decide whether last year's seeds have what it takes to sprout this year. Some species are seeds are good for several years.

Phase 4 - Journal
Do you keep a gardening journal? If not, then you should. Use the journal to record bloom times as well as your successes and failures. Make a note of information on seed packets before you throw them out and also include information you have gleamed from magazines and catalogs. Preparing a journal is not only helpful, but will give you something to do as you wait patiently for planting season.
The time for planting is nearly here, but check the soil before burying your shovel. March will bring many gardeners back to yard and to long dirt-filled weekends.

Planting your spring plants too early can be a frustrating and costly mistake. Be sure to be suspicious of the groundhog, your favorite meteorologist, and even weather.com and to make sure that spring has sprung in the Nashville area.
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