01 Mar

Welcome to the March edition of the Cartier Farms blog! Before I go any further, I would just like to make note of the fact that Spring is this month!!!   In this edition, we will look at some more ideas for things that you can and should be doing to get your yard ready for Spring, as well as building on some of the things we discussed in the last edition.  Last month we talked about planning for Spring.  This month, we can actually put some of those plans in motion.   

Like most homeowners and gardeners, you're probably chomping at the bit to get outside and do something, anything, in the yard.  Here in Southeast Michigan, our recent cold snap has ended, hopefully for good, and the weather has been somewhat mild (for early March, at least). Obviously it's too soon to be planting, but if you experience a warm(ish) day in your area, you can head outside and start getting your yard ready for the growing season.  Clean out your flower and veggie garden beds, if you didn't get that done in the Fall.  Cut back any dead foliage, clean leaves out of the beds, and just do some general sprucing up.  If you're looking for some good, durable, weather-proof shoes or boots to wear out there, check out Muck Boots.  They have a huge assortment of outdoor footwear.

Have you decided to put in a vegetable garden this year?  If you have, there are plenty of things you can be doing this month to get ready to plant.  First, you need to decide if you're going to put in starter plants that you can buy from a nursery, or start your own plants from seeds, or a combination of both.  Here at Cartier Farms, we plant a combination of seeds and starters.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so let's take a quick look at those before we continue:

Obviously, starter plants require less work, and won't take up space in your house, as you will usually buy them when it's just about time to put them in the ground.  This is a great option if you are limited on time or space.  On the other hand, they are considerably more expensive than seeds.  In many cases, you can buy an entire package of seeds for the price of a single plant or a four-pack of plants.  You will also have fewer varieties of plants to choose from, especially if you don't plan on hitting the nurseries early in the season. 

Planting seeds requires more time, space, and dedication, but as I mentioned above, you will have a much better selection of plants to choose from if you start them from seeds.  In addition, you will also get a far greater sense of satisfaction from planting a seed, watching it sprout, nurturing it until it's ready to plant outside, and if all goes well, harvesting the fruits of your labor in late summer!  And let's face it - what else can you do that feels like gardening during this time of the year?   

One of our favorite sources for seeds is the Seeds Now company, which offers a huge selection of 100% natural seeds.  Another one of our favorite companies is the Ferry Morse Seed Company, which carries a huge assortment of seeds, as well as all of the supplies you'll need to get started.  

If you haven't already decided what veggies  you'd like to put in, it's not too late, but if you're going to be starting the plants from seeds, keep in mind, some seeds have a much longer germination time than others, so you'll want to be getting that started soon.  Both of the above-mentioned websites have tons of information about when to start the different varieties of seeds.  Also, you'll need to be mindful of your plant hardiness zone when selecting seeds.  The map below, from the USDA, shows all of the hardiness zones in the US, and below that is a map of Michigan's hardiness zones.

Here's one last thing for you to do, or at least think about this month.  Consider composting. There are a lot of ways to compost, from utilizing a small, store-bought, rotating compost tumbler to building an enclosed compost heap. Composting is a great way to get rid of kitchen and yard waste, and will give you rich, fertile soil for free!  You can spend as much or as little money and time as you'd like getting started, and a little time throughout the year working your soil, and the rewards are great.  Click here for more information on building and maintaining your compost receptacle.  

Thanks for checking out this month's edition!  As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you have.

Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you. 

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