Written By: Mark Larose from Garden State Growers
It’s March, and whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting your journey into this wonderful hobby, one thing is for sure. Luck favors the prepared! I like to approach my garden with a strategy. Taking a soil sample and having it tested can give you a wealth of information on the type of fertilizer you should use.
These tasks may sound routine, but are very important to the success of any garden. Prepare to attack those weeds early on as they can strangle new growth. At the same time, you can clear your garden of leaves and debris that has accumulated over the winter. As you do that, look at the layout of your land and begin to choose the vibrant, show stopping colors that you want to see this season.
You will want to make sure you have all of your lawn and gardening equipment in working order and accounted for. Did you lend your shears to your neighbor? It’s time to get them back. While you do this, consider taking time to tend to your perennials as well. You can begin by cutting back old growth. Consider creating a compost pile. Using organic matter not only saves money, but helps the environment and your plants.
When choosing what to plant first, I have always leaned towards some beautiful pansies. They provide eye popping color in beautiful shades. Sure, in the winter they may not look their best, especially when they are buried under 8 inches of snow, rest assured they are just biding their time until Spring. Pansies are not difficult to grow. Good soil, steady moisture, and at least partial sun will provide the results you’re looking for. What they don’t tolerate is heat and humidity, which is why they thrive in spring and fall.
Plant pansies 6 to 8 inches apart. They can be used as borders, or in larger masses, but don’t count on a solid ground cover. The plants are more clumping than spreading.
Pansies respond well to regular deadheading. As often as possible, every couple of days if you can, pinch off faded blooms and any fruit (small green seed capsules) that may be forming. This will spur plants to continue blooming.
Pansies best qualities are that their early Spring bloom is very robust and pleasing to the eyes, and nose after they have been in the ground since the previous Fall. Make sure that the area where you plant has plenty of drainage and proper lighting.
Lastly, clean out any bird baths or wipe down other garden ornaments. Remember that gardening is a wonderful family tradition for many. If you have children, consider including them in this seasons planting. Remember to take pictures of your garden for Facebook and show it off to your friends.
Either way, have fun. Happy Gardening!
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