The mild temperatures lately may make you eager to start sprucing up your lawn and planting your garden, but the owner of Lowe’s Garden Center says not so fast. Here’s some do’s and don’ts when it comes to this time of year.
Phil Lowe says although it’s warm during the day, it’s still too cold at night to start planting things.
The ground is still frozen, so if you put seeds in the soil, they’ll likely rot because it isn’t warm enough for them to germinate.
And it’ll still be another six to eight weeks before you should start.
“Even though it’s nice, get your yard cleaned up, cut back those old perennials, prune your shrubs, do some fertilizing, get your lawn ready. Work up your flower bed or your garden, but just don’t get too big of a hurry to plant,” Lowe said.
If you do want to start growing things like tomatoes or peppers inside, he has some tips.
“When the days do get nice, not freezing, set the plants out in a shady spot during the day and bring them in at night. That kind of toughens them up and gets them used to the outside. If you take that tender plant from inside and flop it outside, it may or may not survive,” Lowe said.
Lowe says the soil prep work is important. He suggests adding manure or peat moss and some type of fertilizer to it before you plant.
The average growing season in North Dakota is about 120 days so check the back of the seed packet to see how long it’ll take before the seed reaches maturity.
“We can’t grow everything here either. We struggle with the hot weather crops like okra, sweet potatoes, even melons are difficult,” Lowe said.
But it isn’t just the garden you should wait to start.
Nursery and Landscape Manager Paul Beck says you should also wait to start any lawn work.
“Seeding, mowing, thatching, that kind of stuff. You can do it but I wouldn’t mess with it until the middle of April/end of April,” Beck said.
When the ground does thaw out, he says watering is going to be the key to bringing it back to life.
“Spring’s a good time to fertilize, so fertilize your lawn. Especially if it’s getting that yellow-ish color, then you’ll want to give it a shot of fertilizer. Once you do that, you’re going to be mowing more than you want to!” Beck said.
The trees and shrubs will also need some extra water this year too.
“They went into fall really dry unless you were watering last fall. So, as soon as you think the ground is thawed out, and it might be a little earlier than usual this year, you should start watering those trees and shrubs. You want to deep soak them, you don’t want to just sprinkle them a little bit,” Beck said.
Lowe says if you can’t wait a few more weeks to get your green thumb fix, you can always get a house plant.
Lowe says last year, he saw a lot of new gardeners because of the pandemic. He says people were worried about food security, and he’s seeing that trend continuing this year.