Crazy Rocky Mountain Winter

Wow, the weather lately has been unbelievably warm and bright.  Some of us think it has been a little too nice. Because we know we have more winter ahead.

March and April can be our largest snowfall months on average.  Not to mention more freezing temperatures. Everything in the landscape will appreciate the moisture.

So, what do we early gardening enthusiasts do?  Let us do what we know works for early to mid-March gardening and landscape care in the Rocky Mountains.  Once the snow melts and dries up a bit, now is the perfect time to work on your garden cleanup.

Begin Garden Clean Up

For starters, cut back ornamental grasses to 6-8 inches above the soil.  Begin removing large pieces of old plant debris.  Leave some mulch over the top of the soil to help insulate your perennials and harbor beneficial insects for the next several weeks.

March is the last chance to prune shrubs and trees before they break their dormancy.  Do this early in the month because the plants are beginning to grow again quickly.

Early Seed Sowing

Now is the time to get your garden list together and begin shopping for seeds as you will have the best selection.  Creek Side features Botanical Interests and Renee’s Seeds.  Now offering vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Seed germination is all about temperature and moisture.  Room temperature is usually fine for most seeds.  But if you are sowing large numbers of seeds, consider using a heating mat to place the seed trays on.  This will hasten germination and help create a more uniform germination rate.  Use a good quality potting mix like ProMix in your containers.  This will help you regulate the moisture precisely.  Lots of different types of growing containers will work.  Keep the soil moist.

Once the germination process is completed, your seedlings will require good bright light to prevent them from getting long and stretchy.  A great investment for serious seed sowing indoors is a grow light.  Creek Side has all the seed sowing supplies you need!

What to Sow Now

Begin right now with sowing peppers as they take the longest to get going.  Also, some of the flower seeds that take a while to get going like columbine, echinacea and hollyhock.  Let’s wait until April to get going on the tomatoes.

Cool season vegetable seeds may be sown indoors over the next couple of weeks.  This group includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, spinach.  Peas are the one early season veggie we would recommend for sowing directly outside by mid-March.  The ground will have warmed up a little more which will advance their development. The cool season vegetable transplants will be ready for planting outside by early-mid April.

Outdoor Seed Sowing

Read the back of the seed packet of the variety you are interested in.  Especially for some flowers, like wildflower mixes, the recommendation is to sow directly outside 4-6 weeks before the last seasonal frost.  That would be around the first of April.  Keep them sprinkled with water until germination.

Look for pansies and early season vegetable transplants at Creek Side to be ready in a couple of weeks.  Just in time for planting outdoors.

When we work in concert with Mother Nature, our efforts will be rewarded, and our disappointments will be diminished.