What to Do On A Lovely March Day

It’s been unseasonably warm this week in my part of the country (actually, if the truth has to be told, it’s been unseasonably warm all winter, but not crazily so so that you wanted to go out and garden. This week even I wanted to go out and garden!)

But unlike in other parts of the country where there is actual gardening going on this time of year, (a friend came to visit from Florida this past weekend and told us she was harvesting tomatoes. Talk about gardening envy!) this is not necessarily the best time of year to be “gardening” in my part of the country. The weather is fickle and late spring snows can easily undo some of the work you have just done.

So for those gardeners in colder climates, here’s what to do on those lovely spring days.

First, if your soil isn’t too wet to walk on (and that’s an important if. If your soil is too wet to walk on, stay off! You risk damaging the all important soil structure!) go out and begin the inevitable clean up from the winter. Pick up downed branches and larger debris.

At this point in the season, even though we are still in moderate drought, my heavy clay is going to be too wet to work. So I don’t dare go near the garden beds. Anything I can do along the edges is fine.Your garden may be different.

How can you tell? If you pick up a handful of soil and it sticks together like a snowball, don’t mess with the garden! That includes walking in there to prune shrubs! You’ll just compact the soil.

Long time readers have seen photos of moss in my garden. I adore it. But remember, moss needs 3 things to grow: acidity, shade and compacted soil. It gets all 3 in my garden. The heavy clay is naturally dense; I have lots of shade and the pH of my soil is in the range of about 3. But I certainly am not going to compact that clay any more than necessary by walking on it or working in it when it’s wet.

So what do I do on a glorious March day? Usually, I take a walk. There’s not a lot I can do in my garden without messing it up.

On Monday I’ll give you some tips for early spring chores.

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