Though temperatures are still up and down, those who are just itching to get into their gardens can go ahead, say experts, because there are plenty of things that can be planted right now.
"Things that can be planted this time of year are trees, shrubs and perennials," said Mike Ennemoser, retail manager at Greenleaf Landscapes in Marietta. "It's a great time to plant fruit trees and berries."
Now is also a good time to plant cool season vegetables, Ennemoser said, such as cabbage, broccoli, seed potatoes, onion sets, asparagus and rhubarb.
"Now is the time to start working your soil," he added. "You can do soil amendment...if you want to add compost or mulch...or if you want to do weeding, the weeds are growing faster than ever."
Russ Thomson, owner of Thomson's Landscaping in Marietta, said there are all kinds of options when it comes to mulch.
"Mulch is really not necessarily a wood product," he said. "Mulch is a topping on your landscaping to cover the ground and it could be stone, it could be rubber, it could be a wood product...the look you want and the plants you have determine which mulch you're going to use."
How to make a raised
1. Select the site. If vegetables, herbs or sun-loving flowers are being planted, make sure the site gets at least eight hours of sun every day. A water source should be close to the site and the site should be flat.
2. Choose the size and shape of your garden. Four feet wide is a good size because the middle of the bed can be accessed from either side. Ten to 12 inches deep is ideal.
3. Prepare the site. Use newspaper, landscape fabric or cardboard to cover and smother it, then place soil and amendments on top. To ensure that the plants' roots have plenty of room to grow, dig out the existing sod and loosen the soil with a shovel or garden fork to a depth of eight to 12 inches.
4. Construct the bed. Use rot-resistant, two-by-six lumber. Cut the pieces to the desired size, then attach them together to make a simple frame.
5. Level the frame. If the bed is not level, water will run off one part of the garden and sit in another.
6. Fill the garden. Quality topsoil, compost and rotted manure can be mixed together and raked level, then seeds can be planted.
7. Maintain the garden. Mulching the top of the soil will help retain moisture and keep weeds down. This is important because raised beds tend to drain faster than conventional beds.
In addition to there being many, many mulching options, there are also plenty of creative things that can be done with a person's landscaping, Thomson said.
"Watch HGTV (Home and Garden Television) and there's umpteen million projects you can do," Thomson said.
One landscaping technique that is popular locally, according to Ennemoser and Thomson, is a retaining wall.
"We do a lot of retaining walls," Ennemoser said. "In our area, there are a lot of slopes, so it creates a more usable space and it's more aesthetically pleasing to the eye to see a decorative stone wall."
In many cases, a retaining wall is installed with a raised bed, according to Thomson. In fact, he said he used this technique at his own home, when he had a hard time keeping the plants in his raised bed wet because of a slope.
"Most of the soils around here are clay-based, so they're hard to get things to grow in, so the idea is to bring in better soil and mound it up so you're actually planting your shrubbery in better soil," he said.
Thomson pointed out that raised beds are ideal for senior citizens, because they can stand as high as three feet tall so seniors don't have to stoop over to access them.
"It brings the fun back into gardening when you can't get down on the ground," he said.
While there are many things that can be planted right now, Ennemoser cautioned that there are certain things that absolutely should not be planted yet.
"I would caution gardeners to resist the urge of planting tender plants now," he said. "We're not frost free until about the third week of May."
Deborah Herb, manager of Thomson's Landscaping, said it's also too early to plant herbs.
"Annuals and herbs cannot go out," she said. "Annuals (should not be planted) until Mother's Day...herbs could go out a little earlier."