Timely Gardening Tips For Where You Live

Regional, seasonal and timely gardening tips for where you live.

| February/March 2004

  • Timely Gardening Tips
    Tips and tricks for gardening in the United States.
    Illustration by Diane A. Rader
  • Seasonal Gardening
    A sunny day makes cleaning out the greenhouse a welcome task.
    Photo by Fotolia/Franny-Anne

  • Timely Gardening Tips
  • Seasonal Gardening

Timely Gardening Tips

New England & Maritime Canada

When February starts to feel interminable, get outside and do some skiing, skating or walking. Put on a pair of snowshoes and pack down the snow around all your fruit trees. The packed snow is difficult for rodents to burrow through and may help reduce chewing damage to tree trunks. Then, warm up back indoors. Sit in the sun with a cup of hot tea or soup, some homemade dried cantaloupe slices and a stack of seed catalogs. Soon, March will bring noticeably longer days, with the sweet smell of spring hanging in the evening air, and you'll be back in the garden again. By then, overwintered and newly seeded greens will be sprouting; try sowing some cilantro, spinach, mustard and mache this year. The first genuine mud appears, too, so don't get out your garden fork yet. Instead, a sunny day makes cleaning out the greenhouse a welcome task.

In late March when you're out and about, don't forget to listen for the "Peent" call of the male woodcock as he whirls skyward, claiming territory and calling a mate.


"F" is for February and "f' is for flats. Early in the month, pull out the flats and start eggplant, parsley, celeriac, habanero peppers and the last of the dry bulb onions. In mid-February, seed other peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, Chinese greens and lettuce. By the end of the month, start the fast tomato seedlings. Try 'Zarnitsa,' a cold-tolerant Russian variety, for an extra-early harvest, 'Mule Team' for heavy main-season production of top-notch fruits and 'Strawberry Red' (sometimes called 'German Red Strawberry') for an exceptional slicing tomato. In early March, transplant raspberries and blackberries, and shortly after St. Patrick's Day (March 17), plant potatoes. 'Red Cloud,' 'Carols' and 'Rose Apple Finn' are regional favorites with high yields and disease resistance.

Also in mid-March, start transplanting cold-hardy greens (but keep them under row covers), and begin biweekly sowings of beets, carrots and radishes. Spring has arrived!

Southern Interior

Time to start tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds indoors. When the seedlings get their first true leaves, move them to 3-inch pots to grow on until after the frostfree date for your area. Then, transplant them outside.

Plant cool-weather starts like broccoli and cabbage outdoors, and sow English peas, snow peas and sweet snap peas now, before the weather warms up. Try 'Maestro,' a great, high-yielding English pea variety. Also, the nearly leafless 'Sugar Lace II' sweet snap pea and 'Snow Wind' snow pea devote their efforts to producing delicious peas and don't waste energy on extra leaves. Along with edible peas, plant some ornamental sweet peas for their wonderful fragrances and charming flowers; 'Matucana' is a beautiful heirloom variety.

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