Spring has sprung…or so the calendar says, perhaps it should inform the thermometer. Either way, eventually the thaw will come, mud will abound and we will already be behind schedule with our landscaping and gardening tasks. Here is a quick checklist of things you could aim to accomplish before the season is actually upon us, it is based on hardiness zone which you can find on the map below.
- Prune back non-spring blooming flowering shrubs,
- Begin indoor germination of seeds for onions, tomatoes, asters, marigolds, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts,
- Pot stored bulbs,
- And ensure evergreen shrubs near to the house have proper irrigation.
For Zone 4, the time is ripe for;
- Pruning away disease affected branches on apples, ashes and cherries,
- Seeds for pepper, eggplant, zinnias, salvia, petunias, and nicotiana can be germinated indoors under lights,
- Any seedlings started earlier in the season should be potted and indoor, root bound plants should be re-potted
- If snow has melted and soil is thawed in your area, be careful not to remove mulch from perennials too soon; seedlings will be damaged if another hard freeze is yet to come.
In Hardiness Zone 5, it is a good time to;
- Germinate warm-loving species such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants under lights, indoors,
- Early tomatoes can be transplanted into larger pots,
- Annual flower seeds, marigolds and zinnias, etc., can be germinated indoors, under lights,
- Tie up and cut back ornamental grasses, approximately a few inches above ground level,
- Trim or prune dead or sickly branches from trees, shrubs and woody ornamentals,
- Potatoes, peas, lettuce, radishes, and carrots can be planted into garden beds.
For those living in Zone 6, you may;
- Look for and divide hostas which are peeking up through the soil, if the winter has been mild. Remember to generously water upon replanting,
- If spring-blooming bulbs are putting up foliage, disentangle them and remove some mulch,
- Should weather already be mild, timing is good to plant new ornamentals, trees and shrubs. Be sure you have chosen the appropriate site,
- If you have started broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower indoors, they may be moved outside but should still be protected,
- When garden soil is thoroughly thawed and drained plant peas, potatoes, sweet peas,
- Once snow is completely gone, soil can be top-dressed with compost.
If you live in Hardiness Zone 7, now is the time to;
- Plant Swiss chard, this will be ready for harvest in mid-May
- Other hardy vegetables can be planted by mid-March: carrots, beets, kohlrabi, radishes, leaf lettuces, and turnips,
- Onions, shallots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, white potatoes and asparagus which have been started indoors can be transplanted outside,
- Herbs, such as; rosemary, chives and thyme can be set outside. It may still be too cold or variable for basil, best to wait before planting it out.
And for Zone 8, the time is now for;
- Plant cold season crops now, soon the weather will be too hot and they will succumb to stress,
- Spinach, turnips, mustard, beets, carrots, and broccoli should be planted as early in the spring as the soil will allow,
- Corn, tomatoes, squash, peppers, and cucumbers can be planted in late March,
- Mulch can be removed from the base of trees, perennials and shrubs,
- Carnations, daisies, marigolds, petunias, and snapdragons should be planted.
Hardiness zones beyond the above mentioned have fewer, yet more extreme seasons and require an entirely different set of species to plant as well as customized methodologies for planting and care. Please research further information if you live in a more or less variable zone to ensure the success of your landscapes and gardens.