Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2009
Regional Report

Bring Out Portable Cold Frames

Even with snow on the ground, put out portable cold frames over garden beds to start warming the soil. Before you know it you will have rich, moist, thawed soil in which to sow really early lettuce or radishes. Use recycled windows, window well covers, or anything with a clear top.

Buy Some Flowers!

Buy yourself a bunch of daffodils. There's nothing quite like the bright yellow nodding blossoms to make you feel like spring really is coming. Trim the ends when you first put them in water and change the water daily. Don't put other flowers in with them because the daffs will make them deteriorate quickly.

Use Local Resources for Planning

Visit a local flower show or go to a nearby botanic garden for a class. The scents and visions will help inspire you to begin planning your spring garden. Carry a sketchbook with you and bring the ideas away with you to incorporate into your own garden plans.

Start Chores Early

Enjoy the periodic warm days by getting some of the spring tasks out of the way early. Remove dead leaves from perennial clumps taking care not to injure emerging new leaves. Check for emerging bulbs beneath winter mulch. Cut back to the ground all perennials and ornamental grasses that were left standing for winter interest.

Test Your Soil

If you've never tested your soil, get the materials ready. As soon as the soil temperature goes above fifty degrees, take the sample and send it to your local soil testing lab or county extension service. You should have the results in time to amend the soil for the summer garden.

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