This is my favorite time for gardening and I never have to leave my recliner. I enjoy looking through seed catalogs and dreaming about that fantasy garden with no weeds or insects, just ripe vegetables waiting to be picked. There are things to do now to get ready for that fantasy garden. Leah Dail, a Master Gardener Volunteer from Wake County, has a great video on YouTube on this topic. The link is below. Here are some of the highlights from her presentation.
First establish a last frost date. According to the Brunswick County Extension Planting Guide the average last frost is March 16th. Farmer’s Almanac predicts this year’s last frost will be April 2nd for Brunswick County. I keep a garden log of frost dates, plantings, and fertilizer. For the last two years the latest last frost was April 10th. If you plant after Good Friday which is also Tax Day, April 15th, you will be safe. Use this date to count back to start plants from seeds indoors. Refer to the seed packet or one of the gardening guides below for recommended time for transplants. Be sure to add a few days to place plants outside to allow them to harden off.
Now is a good time to get gardening equipment ready. Pruners should be sharpened and oiled. Shovels should be cleaned, and a little oil will prevent rust. A bucket of sand with used car oil is a good place to store shovels.
Soil testing is a good thing to do before each growing season. Soil sample boxes are available at the Brunswick County Extension office and at some gardening centers. The cost is $4 till March 31st and free after that till December 1st. It’s recommended that garden soil be tested every three years.
A couple of things you can do from the recliner are check out the websites of seed suppliers and read publications. Here are some of my favorite seed suppliers.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Tomato Growers Supply Company
There are also great publications on gardening. You don’t have to subscribe to see information on their website
NC Extension – https://extensiongardener.ces.ncsu.edu/gardening-publications-2/
The information here is researched based and can be trusted to be valid.
Horticulture magazine – https://www.hortmag.com/
Birds and Blooms magazine- https://www.birdsandblooms.com/
So, when all the leaves are brown and sky is grey, sit in your favorite recliner and dream away. Planting time will be here soon.
For more information
NC Extension Planting guide – Google ces.ncsu vegetable guide
Brunswick County Planting Guide – Google Brunswick.ces.ncsu planting guide
Google “Gardening Dreaming on Cold Winter’s Day” video – or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ve8zRtLdrM&t=1549s