There's much more to do in the garden during March as we really start getting ready for Spring! The average temperature this month will be around 70 degrees, although today as I write this its a very chilly & windy 50 degrees!
This month usually has our last freeze for the year so make sure to keep an eye on the weather report and cover any earlier bloomers from the temps at night.
Fertilize cool-season lawns, such as bluegrass and ryegrass. Do not fertilize warm-season lawn grasses yet., wait at least another month to do this. Make sure you have rememebered to add your pre-emergent to your lawn to start combatting weeds. Mid to late Feb/early March is the perfect time for this. This one small step will make your life much easier come the summer and your lawn much happier.
Water lawns and gardens deeply once to twice a week, depending on the amount of rain. Do not overwater.
To help avoid weeds in your lawn, establish a regular mowing schedule now. The best weed prevention is a sound lawn maintenance program of frequent mowing, proper fertilizing and timely watering. Mowing infrequently or at the wrong height, over or under fertilizing, and frequent, shallow irrigation are some of the main factors that lead to poor turf quality and an over-abundance of unwanted weeds. No amount of weed preventer or weed killer can overcome poor lawn care practices. Avoid mowing your lawn when it is wet, however, to prevent the spread of fungal problems.
Continue fertilizing established roses, watering the day before and after application.
The old rule-of-thumb for fertilizing azaleas is to do so once they finish blooming. However, they can be fertilized beginning in early spring as growth starts. The more important thing in azalea fertilization is to make two or three smaller applications rather than one large dose in spring. Applying too much fertilizer can burn their shallow, sensitive roots. A rule of thumb would be to use one-half to 1 pound of fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area. Small plants (less than 12 inches) need only about a teaspoon of fertilizer per plant. Larger individual plants would need about a tablespoon per foot in height.
Evenly distribute fertilizer, keeping it away from the stem and off the leaves, and then thoroughly water into the soil. An organic or slow release fertilizer will provide a steadier, long-term release of nutrients without stressing your plants, such as 12-10-4 or a fertilizer specifically labeled for Azaleas.
Mulch is so important in conserving soil moisture, and keeping root systems cooler during blistering hot summers, so now is a great time to renew the mulch around your azaleas and other landscape shrubs if it has decomposed or washed away. Plus, as an added bonus, it can add low amounts of nutrients as it breaks down, and increase the biological activity and health of the soil which is a good thing.
Finish planting any cool-season vegetables, such as beets, carrots, cabbage, peas, and potatoes.
Summer vegetables can begin to be sown toward the end of the month: beans (lima and snap), corn, cucumbers, melons (cantaloupe, muskmelon, and watermelon), okra, green onions, peanuts, pumpkins, summer squashes, and sunflowers.
You can also start to plant your favorite herbs such as: basil (shown), chamomile, chives, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, thyme, and yarrow.
Apply mulch around the base of edibles and flowers to conserve moisture (and prevent weeds).
You should have your onion plants in the ground by now, but if not, just reference back to our handy onion planting guide. We still have plenty in stock to choose from for the late planters.
Water thoroughly after planting, and regularly thereafter. Onions have shallow roots, so don't let the soil at the base of the plants become dry and cracked.
Nutritional needs are different during the growing season. Every 2 to 3 weeks after planting, fertilize with ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) in alkaline soils, or calcium nitrate (15.5-0-0) in acidic soils. Sprinkle it on top of the original fertilizer strip at the rate of ½ cup per 10 feet of row. Water the onions after every application. Stop fertilizing when the onions start to bulb.
Make sure to keep a check on your onions and pull any weedss that might be creeping in.
When the ground starts to crack as the onions push the soil away, the bulbing process has begun. Stop fertilizing at this point.
When the tops of the onions turn brown or yellow and fall over, it's time to harvest. Ideally, the plant will have about 13 leaves at this point. Pull the onions early in the morning on a sunny day. Dry the onions in the sun for two days.