gardening in Connecticut

10 Tips for the March Gardener

clemson lettuce1. Make plans to attend the UConn Garden Conference on March 21, 2014. Go to for more information.

2. Carefully remove winter mulches from planting beds as snow melts and temperatures warm.

3. Add limestone, fertilizer or organic materials as recommended and incorporate into planting beds.

4. As ground becomes workable, de-thatch the lawn if you find an inch or more of thatch; seed any bare spots.

5. Seeds of annual flowers and vegetables that require 10-12 weeks of growth before transplanting can be sown indoors now.

6. Plant seeds of cold weather vegetables like spinach, peas, lettuce and broccoli as soon as soil is workable.

7. Soak mail order bare-root plants for about an hour before planting.

8. Start saving plastic milk jugs or 2 liter containers to use for individual hot caps or cloches. They will fit nicely over small garden plants, creating a free miniature greenhouse.

9. Clean-up and sharpen garden tools and take an inventory of supplies you will need for the upcoming growing season.

10. Get your soil tested through the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory before any major planting or fertilizing venture. Soils sent in before April 1 will avoid the spring rush.

8 More Tips for the September Gardener

garden grass

1. Now is the time to de-thatch and aerate lawns to promote root growth if necessary.

2. Remove and compost spent annuals and fallen leaves.

3. If frost threatens, bring houseplants indoors. Keep in mind that Sept. 16- 22 is National Indoor Plant Week!

4. Pot up or propagate herbs to bring indoors for winter use.

5. Continue to turn and moisten compost piles to speed decomposition.

6. Plant peonies now, but make sure the crowns are buried only one and a half to two inches below ground level. Planting them deeper than two inches may keep them from blooming.

7. If pesky seedlings of woody plants, such as maple, elm or hackberry are found growing in your yard, remove them as soon as possible so they won’t take over gardens and other landscape plantings.

8. September is a great time to seed or overseed lawns.

10 Tips for the September Gardener

  1. Mid to late September is a great time to plant accent plants, like mums and asters, that will provide autumn colors in the landscape.
  2. Rake up leaves, twigs, and fruit from crabapple trees and throw them in the garbage to help control apple scab disease.
  3. Wood ashes contain potassium and calcium and can be used as a limestone substitute in vegetable and flowerbeds if the soil pH needs to be raised and these nutrients are recommended.
  4. Watch for frost warnings and cover tender plants.
  5. Wait until after a light frost to harvest peas, cabbage and beets from your fall garden to obtain the best flavor.
  6. Early fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs and allows time for the root systems to get established before the ground freezes.
  7. Continue weeding garden and shrub beds.
  8. Continue to re-seed bare patches on your lawn and prepare the ground for sowing a new lawn, while the earth is still warm.
  9. Take cuttings of begonias, geraniums, coleus, etc. to grow as houseplants.
  10. Stop by Cornucopia Fest at UConn-Storrs on September 29th from 11 to 4 with 1⁄2 cup of soil for a free 
pH test, free “UConn Compost Tea’ bags and for answers to your gardening questions.