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Mid-Atlantic Gardening: Gardening Calendar

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Want to know what to do in the garden and when? See what our Mid-Atlantic garden contributor Julie Martens recommends.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Map

 

March
- Inspect trees and shrubs for winter damage. Prune any broken branches. 

- Tamp Heuchera and other frost-heaved perennials back into soil. 

- Apply crabgrass preventer when forsythia blooms. Don't apply it if you plan to sow grass seed. 

- Plant bareroot trees and shrubs when soil is workable and not soggy from spring rains.

April
- Trim ornamental grasses to 2 inches. For large clumps, use electric hedge trimmers. 

- Direct-seed fast-growing edibles such as lettuce, scallion, and radish. Plant cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. 

- Sharpen your mower blade, then mow liriope before new growth appears. 

- Apply weed preventers such as corn gluten meal or Preen to flower beds. 

- Remove and destroy bagworm egg cases on evergreens.

May
- Prune early blooming shrubs such as forsythia, star magnolia, or bridalwreath spirea. 

- Plant warm-weather edibles after the last frost date: tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, and squash. 

- Remove leaves and debris in ponds. Repot aquatic plants as needed. Start feeding fish. 

- Spray fruit trees regularly but never during flowering to avoid harming bees.

June
- Allow lupine, dame's rocket, and foxglove to set seed to ensure crops of seedlings for next year's garden. 

- Apply broadleaf weed preventer to lawns. Simply spot spray offenders if your lawn is relatively weed-free. 

- Mulch planting areas, including vegetable gardens, to conserve soil moisture. 

- Remove spent blooms from roses to encourage new flowers to form.

July
- Stop pinching garden mums by the Fourth. 

- Water new additions to the garden -- including annuals --if rain is scarce. 

- Raise your mower's blade height for the summer. Cut zoysia at 1 inch; cool-season grasses at 2.5 to 3 inches. 

- Encourage flower bud formation on annuals by applying bloom-booster fertilizer biweekly. 

- Cut raspberry canes to the ground after fruiting is finished.

August
- Allow tomatoes to ripen fully on the vine for the sweetest flavor. 

- Plant seeds for fall salad greens. Heat-tolerant oak-leaf lettuces germinate in summer soil. 

- Check out local gardens for plants that flower in late summer, such as black-eyed Susan, Joe-Pye weed, and ornamental grasses.

September
- Fertilize cool-season lawns by mid-month. This is the most important feeding of the year. 

- Pick all tomatoes before night temperatures drop to 50 degrees. 

- Aerate cool-season turf grasses. If you plan to overseed to thicken your lawn, aerate first. 

- Cure winter squash -- butternut, turban, pumpkins -- that you intend to store. Cure in the sun for 10 days. Protect from frosts.

October
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs. To force bulbs for January blooms, place potted bulbs in an old refrigerator for 16 to 18 weeks. 

- Remove leaves from lawns faithfully to prevent disease. Improve flavor in Brussels sprouts, kale, carrots, and leeks by harvesting after frost. 

- Compost oak leaves separately to create acidic compost for acid-lovers such as azalea and rhododendron.

November
- Mow the lawn for the last time. Lower the cutting deck to 2 inches and use a bag to catch any weed seeds. 

- Heap chopped leaves on vegetable gardens to insulate soil and encourage worm activity. 

- Leave coneflower, aster, liatris, and anise hyssop seedheads in place to feed birds. 

- Fill and hang bird feeders. Install a birdbath heater.

December
- Plant amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus bulbs. 

- Prune evergreens, hollies, and berried sumac to deck the halls with live greens. 

- Choose watershed-friendly deicing methods. Magnesium chloride is the least toxic choice, followed by calcium chloride. 

- Allow soil of houseplants to dry out between waterings. Give plants a quarter turn weekly to ensure even growth.