Sprouting Ideas- March 2014

   It's "doorstep" time. You've stepped out of the chill of February and have met March. Although the weather is tricky (you know, that "in like a lion, out like a lamb" thing?), true warm weather is just around the bend, and so is the bloom and growth of what you may (or should) have planted in February.


Here are your next steps.


Follow-up and current tasks

* If you didn't take our "Before Planting" advice in February's Sprouting Ideas , better late than never. Get to work now-and early in March is best- prepping tools and purchasing supplies. It's still early enough to be ahead of the game, but to do it, get started.

*Complete (if you haven't already) all bush and tree pruning where appropriate, especially rose bushes. Prune all frost damage from fruit trees.

*Remember last month when you started thinking about replacing your mulch? Well, now you begin replacing it slowly, but do so towards the end of March, therefore not "shocking" the re-awakeing ground too soon.

* Remove any weeds that may have sprouted, but pull them gently, and do it now before they become a nuisance. Do not till the soil and bed; last year's bulbs or seeds underground may still be useful this year.

* Re-pot (if necessary) houseplants and begin spring feeding.

What you'll be planting

* Veggies first. Beets are high on the list, as are broccoli (if you didn't plant in February), cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, melons, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, shallots, spinach, squash, and tomatoes. Looking to try something new (and it's always good to try this)? How about potatoes? Easy to do and the end result is very healthy. Purchase some compost and potato bags and fill the bags slightly with the compost. When green shoots are evident cover again with compost and do this until you have a full bag while continuing to water them. When summer hits-Viola!- potatoes in the bag! Also, those herbs you need for cooking (think oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme) that you may not have planted last month are doable now. 

* Okay, now to flowers and plants, and all are a beauty to behold. For your landscape, consider Bergenia (there's many species to choose from) and Sweet Peas as well as Crocus and Snowdrops. Fertilize around the bases if necessary. Other plants include daffodils, lilies and tulips, as well as roses. As for houseplants, begin fertilizing as daylight increases and prepare to transplant. *Note: when purchasing a houseplant from a garden center, avoid those with root systems coming out of the bottom. Also, keep a keen eye out for insects invading the plants. Nothing will dampen a spirit more then a healthy plant being feasted on.

* Sow seeds for annual plants like marigolds and zinnias indoors under lighting now, and also plant or (if need be) transplant perennials.

* March is also a good month to plant new fruit trees, like the ever and very popular cherry blossom. Evergreens are also nice. 


*Check (if you have it) outdoor garden furniture or decoration for rot or mold. If present, treat it, and treat as well garden fencing, sheds and trellis with preserver. The heat from the prior spring and summer, and the winter cold, can beat up the before- mentioned over time.


There's no turning back now. Spring is here. Starting in April, you'll see how all of your hard work to this point is bearing fruit.