Spring Gardening In March Madness

Writer  /  Carrie Petty

March madness is the appropriate term this month for any gardener in Indiana! My husband always reminds me it usually snows during bracket season. Don’t you just love the Final Four?

Our family does the whole bracket celebration. This is a long cherished Petty tradition full of healthy competition among neighbors and coworkers. Between March 14 and April 3, the NCAA gets into high gear. A Reader’s Digest article noted that, “this year, American companies would lose $1.9 billion in wages paid to unproductive workers spending company time on betting pool priorities.“

Gardeners also gamble on the chance of snow and spring frost.

Spring snow in the garden often causes some panic. Many worry that daffodils will start to sprout too early. “Will they be ok?” Folks often ask me. The answer is usually, “Yes!”

Here’s the deal, Mother Nature has the whole timing thing down. She is all about timing. So when you see those little crocus sprouts, or the tips of your tulips begin to emerge, don’t worry too much. They know what they are doing. If you want to cover them with a little newspaper or a sheet, because a blanket of ice is coming, do it! Especially cover if the flower buds are well emerged.

The Spring Equinox of 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere will begin at 6:28 a.m., on Monday, March 20. Now, can I tell you how excited this makes me? How utterly curious I think it is that a season begins within an exact set of minutes. God ‘created’ Mother Nature, whom I dig and appreciate fully, to be the ‘hippest chick’ in the bunch!

I adore the perfect timing of it all.

The English gardeners have long believed in timing when it comes to the moon’s incredible power, particularly the gravitational pull. The Farmer’s Almanac reads, “Folklore is rich among farmers, given their close ties to Earth and her natural rhythms. The moon’s new and first-quarter phases, known as the Light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees and transplanting in the late spring.”

And, you have to love this tip, “Dig your horseradish in the full moon for the best flavor.”

This is good to know for that savory Bloody Mary on Sunday NCAA game days!

While I love the perfect timing of it all, it is ok to ‘force’ a few things along the way, too. Now is a great time to plant small vessels with Wheat Grass seed to use indoors for your Easter table centerpieces. Wheat Grass is like regular grass seed but the blade is thicker for a more pronounced tuft of green! Also, get out and clip a few branches off your blooming trees and place them in a vase of clean, warm water. In about two weeks, their buds will break and begin to swell and soon you will have fresh crabapple, cherry, dogwood, redbud blooms indoors. This is a great task for children to do and will inspire their curiosity in the garden.

Let the Madness Begin!

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