Coming out of Hibernation

Thursday, March 23, 2023 2:05 PM

Many of us, myself included, look forward to the new seed catalogs with the anticipation that people of a “certain age”  used to look forward to the Sears catalog when they were kids.  OK so I really dated myself there but for avid gardeners picking out what to grow is the highlight of the winter.  I love seeing what’s new and considered the hot trend.  

Preparing tips for the growing season

Prune trees/shrubs and divide perennials: most fruit trees and some shrubs should be pruned 6-12 weeks before your zone's last frost date.  In central Virginia it’s around mid April.  Mother Nature has been known to say “Hold my beer” and throw us a curve ball though.  Spring blooming shrubs should be pruned after blooming for the season.

Check your tools and equipment for repairs or replacement.

Inventory your seed and supplies.  This is a good winter project.  Know what you have before purchasing for the current season.

Plan your garden and flower beds.  Make note of your hardiness zone, check days to maturity, soil/sun/water requirements before you order.  Take and send off soil samples to see if any amendments should be done.  Your local extension office can help.  They have boxes and forms and where to send them.  

Order seed or purchase from a local garden center.  (Hint: you have a couple right here in the county)  If you want to order online, here are a few we’ve used: Johnny’s Seed, Harris, Totally Tomatoes, Territorial and Seed Savers Exchange.  For the unusual try True Love Seed.

Clean flower and vegetable beds and planters.

Do basic maintenance on hardscaping.  Now is a good time to clean walkways, border walls, etc.

Try companion planting.  Books or charts are readily available to help decide what to grow together.  Some benefits are helping save on space, attract beneficial insects or repel unwanted ones, replace nutrients taken from its companion or suppress weeds.  Examples of companions:  

Tomatoes - Basil & other herbs, carrots, cucumbers & squash

Peppers - Basil, Onions, Okra

Cucumbers - Beans, beets, corn, onions, peas, radishes

Some herbs and flowers are great companion plants as well.  Some plants repel unwanted four legged creatures as well.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a good guide for what to plant and when.  You can even input your area for a more detailed option.  The following link is for Virginia:

Hopefully this helps a little in getting your garden started.  We will have seeds, bulbs and plants available.  And as always if you encounter a hiccup along the way, we’ve got you covered and you can always get your fresh produce from us. 

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