March 20th, 2019 is the Spring Equinox
What does the vernal equinox mean to our garden? The spring or vernal equinox is Nature’s alarm clock. Although here in Southern California the signs of spring may have already begun to pop up, the equinox tells our garden that the time for sleep is over. What may have seemed like a slow progression towards Spring will now become a full-on sprint into the warmer seasons.
What is happening in my garden?!
Spring equinox is when the Sun shining directly at the equator making our days and nights, roughly, equal.
We commonly think that it’s the longer days that allow our plants to grow more fervently, but it is actually the shorter nights that kick start this process. With fewer hours of cool, dark nights the plants can begin to produce the chemicals within them and tell them to grow.
As the nights grow shorter and the days grow longer the process by which the plants are chemically ( told to grow picks up speed. by late spring or garden should be in full bloom.
Time to sow your seeds
If you haven’t already started some seeds indoors now is going to be the time to start sowing them outside.
Once the vernal equinox is upon us we know the days are only going to get longer and warmer and our threat of frost is all but gone.
As the soil is warmed by the Sun the seeds will germinate faster and the spring rains will help to keep your soil moist. We are blessed with a long growing season here so let’s not waste any time! Get those seeds planted.
A fun activity to do with the kids is grabbing yourself a bag of local wildflower seeds and letting the kids spread them all over. You will soon be graced with lots of lovely colors throughout your garden!
This also goes for your transplants and starts. many prefer to start their seeds in six packs or small pots indoors in February so that transplants are ready for spring planting. the Spring Equinox should tell you the time is of the essence and our gardens are hungry for fresh plants.
Don´t forget about your compost!
Many of us maintain small composters on our property. If you are one of them you may notice that your composting comes to a complete halt during the winter months.
This is normal as the compost is not a large enough power to maintain its own heat. But with the onset of spring and the lengthening of our days, this is the perfect time to add grass, leaves, and food scraps and get that compost turning once a week.
The combination of regular turning and warmer weather allows the bacteria and enzymes, molds and mildews that breakdown the organic matter to kick into overdrive and get going creating our compost.
The quick composting grass and leaves, along with the warm weather will kick-start your compost pile into overdrive. If you were having trouble getting your compost started, there are a variety of compost starters you can purchase at your local nursery.
With Spring comes the bugs….
Just like our plants the bugs love the warm weather too. Spring Equinox also tells us that the bugs we waking up and they’re going to be hungry.
Now that we are sowing our seeds and planting our transplants, trees and flowers are flushing their new spring growth, the buffet has been set, so to speak.
Caterpillars, aphids, grasshoppers, and pillbugs can destroy a newly planted spring garden in no time.
In our article, Prepping you Garden of Spring, we mentioned taking some preventive steps during planting can help save you lots of trouble down the road. Spreading some diatomaceous earth on your soil (not the plants), weekly washing of your plants and flowers (trees too!) and regular visual inspection of your garden will help you mitigate pest problems.
The vernal equinox is like a refreshing wash over our gardens and our souls. With the last of the winter color gone in fresh spring color popping up our garden takes on a whole new personality.
The therapeutic quality of cleaning out our Gardens in preparation for spring equinox helps our own minds and bodies reset and prepare for the fun that spring and summer have to offer.
Crocus, tulips, lavender, and local native spring flowers can a variety of color to your newly planted Spring Garden.
If edible gardening is more your style radish, kale, chard, and peas will continue to grow well through spring.
Remember, as spring goes on and the days lengthen, the weather gets dryer and your water needs will increase.
Be sure to keep an eye on your irrigation!