Any time of year is a good time for gardening, because there is always something that needs doing. Gardening In New York is a great book for helping to plan your annual task list, whether you’re working with vegetables, fruits, trees, bushes, or bulbs. It provides easy to follow month-by-month guidelines. Use this shortened calendar to get you started, but do some research on what else you could be doing.
Now that you’ve gone through all your seed catalogs and have a firm idea of what you will be ordering, take a walk out to your garden and make sure you have the space for it all. It’s a good idea to draw a map of your beds. Make sure your sketch represents the size of the adult plants.
March is a good time to grow seedlings indoors. It’s not easy to start all plants indoors so here are a few recommendations from Gardening In New York. “Start seeds indoors for early beets and turnips; in late March you can start eggplant and kale.”
If the ground is dry enough, after the winter snows have fully melted, you can create any new beds this month. Once temperatures reach 65˚F, you can start outdoor planting of beans, cantaloupes, chard, corn, cucumbers, some melons, potatoes, squashes, sweet corn, and turnips.
Some of the warmer hardiness zones in the southern Hudson Valley can begin planting everything by now, while the colder, higher elevations typically wait until mid to late May—after all signs of frost have passed. Now the season is really warming up.
By now you’ve started thinning out your seedlings, as your baby plants become teenagers. This is also a good time to take care of all weeds and ensure that you have all of the plants that you will need for this season. You may even be eating by now. (Tip: Throw your seedlings that you have to thin out from beets and lettuces into your salads.)
Your garden should be in full swing now. Chances are you’re eating out of it every day. If not, and you’re not satisfied with your results, do a pH test on your own or get an extensive soil analysis through Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Gardening In New York by André & Mark Viette with Jacqueline Hériteau. Published by Cool Springs Press, 2005. $19.99. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Visit www.cce.cornell.edu to find the local office near you.