Seasonal Tasks--Spring

Hairy bittercress

• Finish sharpening, cleaning, and organizing tools and equipment which you were supposed to do over the winter. Try soaking in white vinegar to remove rust and sap.
• There’s more green to St. Patty’s Day than shamrocks. March 27th is the traditional date for planting peas in the garden. Since peas can’t read the calendar, check for soil temperatures in the mid 40’s. Stake or provide a trellis to save space and make harvesting easier.
• Still time to order those special seeds you can’t find at your local garden shops.
• Purchase or clean your old containers, trays and grow lights. Start seeds indoors using a soilless mix to get a jump on the season. Obey the seed packet information for best success.

• No garden is complete without hummingbirds. The Rubythroated Hummingbird (Ohio’s only hummer) returns to Ohio late April to early May. Clean, rinse well, and fill the
feeders. Ratio: 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Place near a sitting area and enjoy the show as they flit from the feeders to your flowers in the garden.
• Continue pulling weeds. Get that tenacious hairy bittercress now. It forms tiny white blossoms early and soon goes to seed and will scatter far and near when touched or brushed up against, becoming a bane to all gardeners.
• Rise Up. Think about raised beds this gardening season whether you buy or make them yourself. Check out garden catalogs and the internet for new
bittercress and better gardening information. They come in all sizes, materials, and heights. Pick the one that fits your aching back.
• Time to plant cool weather crops in the ground such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Don’t be too impatient. Walking in your garden and working the soil when
wet can compact and damage the structure of your soil.
• Take a break to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 26).

• Gently press frost-heaved plants back into the soil.
• Delay cleanup to give overwintering insects time to emerge.
• Cut off the tattered leaves of early blooming hellebores, epimedium and fern fronds.
• Use Phenology to determine when to plant in your garden. For example: When forsythia blooms, plant peas, lettuce, and onion sets. When crocus bloom, plant radishes, parsnips, and spinach. Check out The Ohio State Phenology Calendar website at
• Start dividing and potting perennials to donate to the Secrest Garden Fair plant sale June 8, 2024. Set aside and bring to the Visitors Center the morning of the event. Contact Sue Cook or Lori Everett for more information.

--Sue Cook, Secrest Arboretum Master Gardener Volunteer