Spring is on the Way

Have you heard the chickadees chatting about their spring plans? Yes, spring is on the way. The birds know it and the plants know it too, as the tiny tops of bulbs begin to emerge from the soil.

Gardeners are good at celebrating spring. In the winter, we dream of future plants, making garden plans and ordering seeds. When spring comes, we’re more than ready for action. But what action should you take? Here’s what you can do to get your garden ready for the season.

As we stand on the cusp of spring, take stock of any vegetables that you’ve overwintered. As light levels increase and the garden warms up, free up garden space by harvesting the last of the leafy winter greens like kale. Watch your purple sprouting broccoli, as it will soon produce tender shoots and florets. Harvest those first shoots, and your broccoli will produce for weeks. Your garlic will live in your garden for a little while longer, but those spring garlic scapes are just around the corner.

You’ve been eyeing that vacant soil all winter long, and it’s almost time to make your move. If you’re aching to get seeds into the ground, many of them can be started indoors before they’re planted out. Tomato seedlings are a good example: due to their heat-loving habit, starting them indoors just makes sense.

Many greens flourish in the cool, wet weather of the early spring. Mizuna and arugula will bolt in the summer’s heat but relish these cold, damp days. To protect greens from snow, frost, and rain, consider planting your first crops in a sheltered location near your home, or add heat using a miniature greenhouse, row cover, or cloche.

February is the time when gardening heats up: planning the garden, tending winter vegetables, starting seeds, and planting the earliest greens are all on the menu. For gardeners yearning for a bite of something green and local, it’s time to spring into action.

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