March 2015 Gardening Calendar
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In the vegetable garden, we are harvesting Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, lettuce, beets, carrots, turnips, English peas, green onions and rutabagas from the winter planting. Space is at a premium because we can also plant green beans, summer squash and cucumber by seed. Plant tomato transplants after mid-month if temperatures are high enough and the soil has warmed up.
Prepare the soil for the spring garden by adding 2 inches of compost and 1 cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 100 square foot.
Recommended tomato varieties include the new Rodeo tomato, Bobcat, Tycoon, Celebrity, 444, Valley Cat, Solar Fire, BHN 602 and BHN 368--also known as cherry. For the whole story on Bobcat and the other recommended tomato varieties, visit plantanswers.com.
In the flower garden the snapdragons, pansies, stock, calendula, primula, cyclamen, alyssum and dianthus should perform well through the month and into April.
Bluebonnets start blooming in March, but peak bloom may not be reached until mid-April depending how far north or south you are.
If you did not prune your roses or fruit trees in February, do it early this month. The plants need to have crossing wood removed and the middles opened up. For detailed instructions and diagrams, visit plantanswers.com.
Hybrid tea roses and fruit trees, such as peaches, require a disciplined spray program if you want to maximize production of blemish-free flowers and fruit.
Spray roses weekly with a fungicide, such as triforine, and an insecticide, such as acephate. Organic gardeners can try a spray program using sulfur for fungus control and spinosad for insects. Neem oil also has some fungicide and insecticide effect.
Spray peaches with Captan for fungus and Malathion or carbaryl for insects. Again, you can try a combination of neem oil, Spinosad and sulfur for an organic regime. Make sure you follow label’s instructions for whatever pesticides you use.
The lawn may start growing in late March, but resist fertilizing until you have mowed real grass two times. That may not be until May 1. Fertilize too early, and the plants that benefit most are the weeds. March is the month when the winter weeds begin to mature their seed. Keep them pulled or mowed to reduce seed production.
Early in the month, landscapes with live oak trees will be blessed with the leaf drop. Use them for mulch in your gardens, put them in the compost pile or let them decompose on the lawn. Mowing the leaves on the lawn helps speed up decomposition. The decomposing leaves will contribute organic material and nutrients to the lawn grass.
March is a big month for the winter weeds such as thistle, bedstraw, henbit, rescue grass, dandelions, beggar’s lice and annual bluegrass, but it is also important to apply a pre-emergent herbicide, such as XL or Amaze, if you have problems with sandburs or crabgrass in the summer. If you let the sandburs and crabgrass germinate, they will become very hard to control. The pre-emergent herbicide does a good job of preventing germination if you follow the label’s instructions.
Calvin Finch Ph.D. is a Horticulturist and Urban Water Program Director with the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.