Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Gardening Jobs by the Month: MarchPay Attention to Houseplants!!
Re-pot houseplants so they will grow well during spring and summer.
Water gloxinias and African violets from the bottom, avoiding getting any water on the leaves. Dust the leaves with a small, soft brush.
Plan Your Garden:
Consider ordering a few blueberry plants. Not only will they provide delicious fruit for jams, muffins, and pies, but they are also an excellent choice for landscaping plants, offering scarlet fall foliage and creamy white spring flowers. Blueberries serve neatly in a hedge or as specimen plants.
When choosing fruit trees, remember that apple, apricot, and pear trees need two varieties present to ensure pollination. If space is limited, try peach, nectarine, or sour cherry, which will bear fruit on a single tree.
Garden work should begin when a lump of soil squeezed in the hand is dry enough to fall apart slowly.
Uncover bulb beds and hardy borders near the middle of the month.
Plant deciduous trees and shrubs this month.
Trim out the old canes from the rows of berry bushes. The bramble fruits are borne on new wood of last year's growth.
Prune fruit trees until spring buds swell. Maple and birch should not be pruned until they leaf out.
Sprinkle wood ashes around berries and fruit trees. The potash will enhance the sweetness of the fruit.
Remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
Uncover mulched perennial and strawberry beds gradually, pressing into place any plants that have been heaved up.
Dig up over-wintered parsnips as soon as the soil is loose enough. They will not benefit from any additional time in the ground.
Set out pansies as soon as the ground is ready. They'll happily withstand cold weather and will bloom steadily if the spent blossoms are kept picked.
Remove the mulch from your perennial beds gradually. Take it off as the season progresses and add it to your compost pile.
If your compost pile has been frozen all winter, add some manure now and turn it frequently.
Check trellises, latticework, and fences for winter damage. Repair before spring growth begins.
Dormant spraying for fruit trees should be done before spring growth begins.
Get a Head Start:
Resist the temptation to uncover spring-flowering plants such as daffodils and tulips. Mulch may be loosened, but the shoots will still benefit from protection against cold, drying winds.
Manure can be spread over the garden now, especially on the asparagus and rhubarb beds.
Be sure that flats and pots used for starting seed are perfectly clean. Likewise, the soil should be clean and sterile.
Mark and label your sown seeds, indoors and out.
Water newly started seedlings carefully. A pitcher may let the water out too forcefully. A mist sprayer is gentle but can take a long time. Try using a meat basting syringe, which will dispense the water effectively without causing too much soil disruption.
Give peas a chance. The earlier they mature, the sweeter they'll be. Sow them right under the snow, if necessary, but save some for a later planting as well.
Spread dark plastic intended for mulch out over the garden site to hasten the warming of the soil. This will provide for earlier and better germination.
Hydrangea can now be cut back severally to stimulate good blooms.
Keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of pansies, crocuses, and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
Start seedlings of annuals in flats - aster, larkspur, alyssum, and balsam should be started now (or 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date in your area). If summer season is short, zinnias should be started now. They will need to be potted up in individual pots after 4 to 5 weeks.
Start some vegetables in flats now: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and lettuce are good choices.
Seed alpine strawberries now to make attractive and bountiful hanging baskets for summer.
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