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Well grounded … Still growing
The Garden Center is freshly stocked with annuals, natives, water-wise plants, succulents, fruit trees and flowering shrubs...
What to do in your garden this month...
If February is the crossover month where winter turns to spring, then March means spring is in full swing. The days are getting appreciably longer and deciduous trees and plants that have been dormant during the winter are pushing out bright green leaves and shoots. There is no better time than NOW to plant, transplant or sow seeds as plants are botanically programmed to grow fast in the spring. There is lots to do in the garden this month so roll up your sleeves and enjoy it!
Nothing says "Spring" better than the dainty, pretty light blue of Forget-Me-Nots. One packet of seeds is all it takes for you to have these pretty harbingers of warmer days appear in your garden year after year. Just sprinkle the seeds on the ground in a shady area and with the help of a little water, plants will appear - it's as simple as that. Once they have finished blooming and have gone to seed, pull them up and give them a good shake where you want them to appear again, and they will self-sow.
Pull weeds and snails: Even though we haven't had much rain this year, weeds still grow and snails are emerging from their winter hideaways hungry as ever. Water the ground before hand pulling weeds and then use a pre-emergent such as Amaze to prevent weeds from germinating. Hand pick snails off your plants just before dawn. Locate their daytime hiding places ― usually strap-leafed plants like daylilies or agapanthus ― and handpick regularly. Use a snail bait such as Sluggo, which is safe in the vegetable garden and around pets or children.
Sow seeds before it rains:
Now is an excellent time to sow spring veggie seeds. If rain is forecast, sow vegetable and annual flower seeds before it arrives. Nothing excites seeds as much as rain! The art of getting seeds to germinate is to prepare the ground first and keep the seeds moist while they germinate. Do not flood them but do not let them dry out either.
Buy tomato plants: Tomatoes grow well in the ground or in large pots. Tomatoes need heat to produce flowers and fruit, but during these early months they will develop a large root system that will make for stronger plants in the summer. At Deep Roots we have several varieties that have been adapted to our coastal climate. We will be bringing in different varieties of heirloom tomato plants with each shipment so check back often for exciting varieties.
Attract good bugs: To keep insect pests under control in your vegetable garden, lure in their natural enemies ― hoverflies, lacewings (photo left), ladybugs, and parasitic wasps ― by planting the nectar plants they love, such as aster, chamomile, coreopsis, cosmos, feverfew, marigold, scabiosa, and yarrow.
In our bug fridge: recently delivered - ladybugs, praying mantis egg pods and earthworms.
Grow fruit trees: March is a great time to plant citrus trees. If you have limited space plant dwarf varieties which grow well in large containers. Grow citrus trees in FULL SUN. Citrus trees thrive in sun and heat so growing them in full sun is especially important along the coast.
Prepare the ground or the container well, sprinkle some Dr.Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer in with the soil before you plant. Citrus trees are heavy feeders and need regular fertilizing to produce flowers and fruit.
Start an herb garden: Plant chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, and my all time favorite herb - Winter Savory. Arugula, chervil, cilantro, and dill can also be grown successfully from seed.
Acidify hydrangeas: To keep your blue-flowered hydrangea blue, acidify the soil now and every few weeks until bloom time. If you don't do this the hydrangeas will revert to pink. Apply aluminum sulfate, which is often packaged expressly for hydrangeas, following label directions. At Deep Roots we have Growmore's Hydrangea Blueing formula in stock now.
Feed plants: Almost all plants appreciate added nutrients at this time of year. They are just about to begin a growth surge and, like a runner before a marathon, they can use the extra food. Feed fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs (except camellias ― wait until after bloom), lawns, container plants, houseplants, perennials, ground-covers, and annuals that have been in the ground for six weeks or more. If rain is forecast get out into the garden and fertilize everything with a slow release granular fertilizer and let the rain soak it in.
What To Plant: Plant warm-season annual flowers and vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, petunias ) and citrus and other sub-tropicals. Once the soil has warmed to 60 degrees F, sow seeds for corn, cucumbers, green beans, squashes, and other heat-lovers. 60 degrees F means the soil is warm enough for you to walk on it comfortably barefoot.
Continue to mow your lawn: Mow fast growing lawns regularly and at the right height. It's the best thing you can do to control weeds and keep grass thick and healthy. Now, during cool weather, mow cool-season lawns such as bluegrass, rye-grasses, or fescues at 2 inches or so. During periods of hot weather set the mower at 3 inches. Mow warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia at 2 inches throughout the growing season.
Containers: Plant colorful flowers in containers to brighten up your entryway or the view from your family room. Mix in some slow release fertilizer such as any of the organic formulations by Dr. Earth with the soil before you plant. Good plants for long term bloom include nemesia, calibrachoa (Million Bells), Osteospermum (African Daisies), and geraniums. Fertilize these regularly, too, with a half-strength fertilizer.
Harvest Regularly : Keep picking your cool-season crops, such as peas, lettuces, and spinach. It will encourage more production. Continue to plant successions of these fast-growers for production over the next several weeks.
Mulch: Replenish mulch where it has disappeared and add a layer to new areas so that it's 2-3 inches deep. Mulching well helps to prevent weeds from taking root and helps to conserve water in the soil so you don't have to water quite as often. Be careful to avoid mounding the mulch against the stems or trunks of your plants.
Fuchsia: Cut back fuchsias that have become leggy as they bloom on new wood.
Camelias: Prune camellias and subtropical hibiscus after they're done blooming. Feed camellias after blooming with an acid loving fertilizer to keep their leaves dark green
Houseplants: Move houseplants outdoors or out from protected spots once the weather warms up a little. Wash them off with a gentle shower of water. Keep them outside for the summer in a shady spot. Too much sun will scald the leaves.