Getting Ready for Spring | A Note from Bridge Gardens

March 14, 2024

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

It’s starting to get busy outside.

As we continue to edge and mulch and weed and prune, we are also thinking about planting or at least getting ready to plant. Early greens and radishes can be planted in the vegetable garden this month and it’s a good time of year to plant anything bareroot, either into the ground or into containers.


Collards and spinach growing now

If you overwintered any containers, uncover them and move into the light. They can be planted as soon as they thaw out or kept in the nursery temporarily to break dormancy. If in early winter you planted any wildflower seeds that need an extended cold period to germinate, move flats and pots to a sunny location to warm up and speed germination.


Seedlings going outdoors to harden off

Starting seeds indoors begins this month. Crops like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce need 6-8 weeks after sowing before they can be planted outside. If you sow in mid-March, that means you can plant seedlings outside at the end of April or in early May.

Light is key to starting seeds and growing plants indoors, whether you provide it artificially or have a greenhouse, sunroom or very sunny windowsills. Thinning is important, too, as is consistent watering and an application of half-strength fertilizer every couple weeks. Use a sterile soil medium like Pro-Mix and provide good air circulation to discourage damping off.


Seedlings under growlights will go into the garden soon

Starting seeds indoors is a great way to kick off the growing season, but it’s also important to get outside, not only to cross items off your to-do list, but also to enjoy those early bloomers that herald all that is to come.

Winter jasmine, Japanese paper bush (Edgeworthia), crocus and johnny-jump-ups are all in bloom right now at Bridge Gardens, to be followed this month by daffodils, winter hazel, hazelnuts and more.


Purple crocus tomasinianus

I’m also happy to share that the honey bees living in our hive survived the winter this year and have recently emerged. The hive, owned and managed by John and Sofia Witzenbocker of Sag Harbor Honey, has been in place for several years near the rose garden. This year’s milder winter provided the right conditions to support these hibernating insects, and emerging bees are now seeking sustenance from the early blooming plants throughout the Garden.

It’s always a great time to visit Bridge Gardens, so I hope to see you out there enjoying these early bloomers soon.

Happy Gardening!
~~ Rick


Honey bees emerging from the hive

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