After being cooped up with only potting mix dirtying your green thumb, you may want to go full bore into the garden on the first good day. You want to get real dirt on that green thumb! Resist that temptation. There are many sound reasons why Memorial Day is the traditional start of the gardening season in our climate.
I’m not saying that you have to wait until Memorial Day to get out into the garden. I’m just suggesting that you not push it. It takes awhile for the soil to dry out enough for you to work it…and in it. Temperatures should moderate and you should be sure that the last
hard frost has passed before planting. Even though plants may be hardy in our zone, a hard frost while they are young and tender can kill them.
Until it “feels” right to work in the garden, limit your activity to spring cleanup. Tips for that were covered in a previous blog. I let the lawn be my gardening barometer. If the grass needs mowing and the mower doesn’t sink into the turf, then it is OK to begin working in the garden.
Spring bulbs will provide you with early spring color, provided you planted bulbs last fall. Spring flowering trees and shrubs will also brighten your property. Wait until bulbs and woody plants are finished blooming before planting annuals. Annuals will be most susceptible to any late season frost, and our unpredictable winter may just bid us farewell with a late frost, or even a storm.
You don’t have to just sit inside and wish you could be outside. You could use this time to make plans for updating or renovating your landscape, if you haven’t done so already. You can also use the time to set up your patio or deck. Furniture and statuary can be taken out. Just don’t take out your temperature-sensitive plants.
Even though our gardening season is relatively short, there will be plenty of days to work the soil. Although it may not seem like it, the season is actually more than half the year.