New England

March, 2013
Regional Report

Start Celery and Celeriac Seeds

Start seeds of celery and celeriac in the early part of the month. Seeds need light to germinate, so press them onto the surface of the potting mix or just barely cover them. Bottom heat will help with germination. Sow seeds 10-12 weeks before your last spring frost date, and set seedlings out in the garden after the danger of frost is past. Both need a steady diet of moisture and nutrients to thrive, so enrich the soil with lots of organic matter and consider using drip irrigation.

Rake Snow Piles Away

To prevent problems with snow mold on lawns, rake out piles of snow as the weather warms so that the snow melts quickly. Once the lawn is no longer frozen or the soil soggy, gently rake matted grass to lift it up and remove any leaves or other debris that accumulated on the lawn over the winter.

Water Seedlings with Room-Temperature Water

Cold water can be a shock to tender young seedlings. Fill your watering can and let it sit overnight so the water is at room temperature when you use it on your baby plants. Refill the can after each watering session and you'll always have water at an appropriate temperature on hand.

Remove Mulch from Perennials Gradually

Once most of the snow has melted and temperatures generally remain above freezing, begin to gradually pull off winter mulches such as evergreen boughs, straw, or leaves from over the crowns of perennials. This lets the emerging plants get the sun and exposure to cool temperatures they need for the new growth to be sturdy and resilient.

Cut Back Perennials and Grasses

Cut back the dead top growth of the perennials and ornamental grasses you left standing over the winter before new growth begins to emerge, but leave any rosettes of green basal leaves untouched. Be sure the soil in the bed has dried out sufficiently before you wade in to do your cutting, however, to prevent compacting the soil. A board laid across the ground will distribute your weight more evenly and help to prevent compaction.

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