How to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring in the Hudson Valley

Sue Adams, of Mark Adams Greenhouses at Adams Fairacre Farms, shares tips on getting your plants in tip-top shape for spring.

Are you ready for the arrival of springtime weather and sunny days in the Hudson Valley? Better yet, is your garden ready? If a beautiful, bountiful summer garden is what you seek, these tips will help you get started.

Be patient

If you’re looking for something to do to get your beds ready in March, here’s some advice: Don’t go stomping through them. You shouldn’t go into the garden until the ground is completely thawed and not muddy, Adams advises. If the soil clumps, it’s too wet to work.

If the ground isn’t ready to work, and you’re dying to do something garden-related, you can check your tools — the tiller should be oiled, so add fresh gas/oil — so they will be ready to go when the ground is workable. How about spiffing up flowerpots and boxes? Clay pots can be painted bright, cheery colors. And you can always start a few seeds indoors to get a head start in your garden.

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Getting your hands dirty

Most years, the garden can be started around March 15. “The first thing we plant is peas,” Sue says. In early spring, you can also plant perennials and herbs like thyme and mint. Some examples of flower species that can tolerate the cold are pansies and violas. Tender annuals, like begonias and impatiens, and vegetables — tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant — should be planted in late May. Squash and pumpkin seeds need very warm soil, so plant in June.

Early risers

As you get your garden ready, consider some early-blooming perennials for a happy burst of color. Adams’ favorites are Hellebore (absolute earliest); Candytuft (Iberis); Astilbe; Iceland Poppy; Lewisia; Trout Lily (erythronium, a native wildflower); and Aquilegia canadensis (native wildflower).

There are other perennials that will bring creamy white, yellow, or purple blossoms in the late winter and early spring, but plan ahead: You need to plant them the previous fall. They include grape hyacinth, snowdrops, crocus, and daffodils.

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Related: How to Start an Herb Garden in the Hudson Valley

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