Once the snow has melted from the garden, that familiar annual yearning to start working the soil to get a jump start on the growing season starts eating away at a garden lover. There is such a thing as starting your gardening work too early, though.
The soil in the spring garden needs a chance to warm up and dry out before the gardener to get to it. Try to get a head start before the soil is ready and the eager gardener can cause more harm than good as the soil compacts and tiny shoots of perennials are crushed.
Early squishy footsteps in the thawing garden soil can alter the drainage and cause the awakening plants do be susceptible to rot. Test the soil for moisture before entering the garden space. Squeeze some dirt from the garden in your hand. If it crumbles, the soil is dry enough to start working in the garden without causing damage. If the soil forms a ball, it's still too wet to attempt to start your garden work.
The anxious gardener can still satisfy the need to start growing by turning away from the little plot of land and heading instead to the deck, porch, balcony or patio.
In the spring, when the frost danger has passed, direct your attention to the window boxes and the tubs and pots and welcome the growing season by planting annuals. Take care in choosing the annual plants for the container garden if you live in an area susceptible to a late frost.
While a salvia can handle a light springtime frost if it's already been hardened off, zinnias and ageratums will probably die if they are transplanted outside too early. Pansies can be hardened off and put on display and thrive as long as the temperatures don't fall below 25 degrees F.
The garden soil may be too wet to work in, but successful container gardeners must always remember that the soil in the tubs, pots and boxes will dry out a lot quicker than the ground will. On a breezy spring day or a day with intense sunlight, check on the container plants to see if they will benefit from the assistance of a bit of water. If you notice the plants start to droop, that's a good indication that they need a bit of moisture from you.
The instant color of annuals in the container garden will fulfill your yearning for the calming affect of the well tended garden until the elements are ready for you to tackle you garden plot. The strategic placement of the planted containers will also give you a relaxing place to take a break and enjoy the spring as the wonders of nature unfold and the season of rebirth gets into full swing.