Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Gardening Begins Again

It’s been raining a lot this week!  With the temperature warming up at the same time, plants are rushing to come back from their winter break.  Leaves are rapidly growing - changing the gray landscape to vibrant green once again.   Life is back!  For the angiosperms – also known as flowering plants - it’s show time! 

But while we watch the rebirth in plants, it is also time consider the work that needs to be done at this time in the garden in order to prolong the show that just begun.   Here’s my to-do-list of activities this month.  It’s kind of short because I will be on vacation for a few days – this is realistic and doable.

Activities for March

Replenish soil nutrients   An application of balanced fertilizer such as 15-15-15, 16-16-16, 10-10-10, or even the organic version 5-5-5 to perennial plants, shrubs and trees, groundcover and lawn is a good thing to do at this time.

Increase soil organic matter content A distinguishing characteristic of a poor soil is low in organic matter.  Invest in good compost (including decomposed animal manure) to apply throughout the cultivated areas of your garden every year.   You can either purchase or make your own compost.  If you have not done composting before, this is a good time to try it. 

Pull out weeds.   Pull them out when you see them.  There is no better time to control weeds other than before they use up some resources meant for your plant and before they produce seeds. 

Check irrigation system.   Make sure the system is working before we need to turn them on again.  In this area, where we do not have the luxury of regular rainfall, irrigation system is the lifeline of the garden during late spring all the way to fall.  In addition to that, we want to continue to consciously conserve and use water efficiently.   Drought might be over for a while but we need to get into the habit of conserving our natural resources.

Plant annuals In my case I’m planting some vegetables such as radishes (‘French Breakfast’ and ‘Cherry Belle’), chard, and Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia Torch).   I intend to plant other warm-season veggies but not yet.  However, if you want to harvest tomatoes early, you can plant them now – make sure to protect them from late frost.  The problem with planting too early is that they sit there in the garden without showing any significant growth for a long time and that only prolongs their  exposure to pests while they’re vulnerable.

Clean and Fertilize Plants in Containers  Remove all dead stems and leaves.  Prune if necessary.   Apply a side-dressing of fresh potting soil with a little bit of complete fertilizer to boost initial growth.  Apply another dose of complete fertilizer again after the first month of growth. 

Stroll in your's good for you.

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