Let's spill the dirt!

 


Some think that the holidays are the highlight of the year. If you are a gardener, you know that your favorite day is when the nurseries start stocking up with garden goodies. Who doesn’t love the feel of new gloves and crisp seed packets? You likely spent the long gray winter days pouring over seed catalogs and dreaming of fresh tomatoes right off the vine. The challenges of weather, pests and soil struggles seem miles away. The snow reminds the hopeful gardener that it’s a bit early to put in tender plants. Cool weather plants can be planted when the soil is as low as the 30’s. Lettuce, spinach and peas do well in cooler environments. Until the days get warmer, what can a pent-up dirt jockey do to prepare? Make sure your tools are clean and sharp. Make new plant markers so you can remember where you planted those seeds. Get the calendar out and chart when to plant the cool weather plants. Start some seeds indoors and have a seedling swap with friends. Visit your local nursery for inspiration and advice. Natalie Fink, Manager/Plant Buyer at Puget Island Gardens, recommends taking care of your

soil before you plant: “Now is the time to check the pH level of your soil. Most vegetables prefer a pH of 6.0 to 7.0, so if your soil pH is too low or too high, you will want to amend it. With all the rain we are getting, make sure that your garden beds have proper drainage and are not soupy or covered with water before planting. Amending with compost can help break up heavy clay to allow for better drainage.”March certainly is coming in strong and cold. Hang in there—Spring is just around the corner!

 

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