Spring officially arrived earlier this week, and there is still so much to do and so much opportunity to get your spring summer harvest going.
Here is your handy set of March gardening tips from Agromin, a Southern California manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected locally.
Prepare Garden Soil: If you aren't a year-round gardener, chances are good that not much has been done to your garden soil since last summer. It's easy to get soil back in shape by adding organic amendment. Cultivate your vegetable and flower garden down about one foot using a shovel, cultivating fork or tiller. Specific amendments are available for clay and sandy soils. Amendments are mixed in with existing soil and provide needed nutrients. They also help provide structure to the soil, reducing the amount of water needed to maintain healthy plants.
Planting Cool and Warm Season Vegetables: March offers the best of both worlds for vegetable gardeners. There is still time to plant cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts and turnips, and it’s also time to begin planting some warm-season vegetables including beans, summer and winter squashes, sunflowers and some varieties of tomatoes. Crops that do well year round can also be planted (i.e., carrots, beets, radishes and Swiss chard).
Plant Perennials: Perennial flower plants love March. There are plenty of varieties including asters, bellflowers, callas, cymbidiums, daylilies, rudbeckia, Shasta daisies and yarrow in supply at your local nursery. Once planted, they will flower in no time. Planting them now not only gives you months of blooms during spring and summer, but the roots have time to grow strong so the plants can continue to blossom and thrive in fall and winter.
Divide Perennials -- Perennials can begin looking scraggily and sparse after a season or two. When that happens, dig up some of the perennial rootballs to eliminate dead spots within the flower groupings. Remove excess soil. Cut the rootballs and plant them immediately in other parts of your garden. Make sure to cut off dead flowers and stems so the plant's energy can be directed toward new flowers.
Mulch Your Garden: Once your garden is planted, cover the area with several inches of mulch. Mulch is made from various organic material and comes in a variety of chip sizes. Chip sizes of two inches or less are the ideal size for keeping roots cool, reducing moisture loss, controlling erosion and preventing weed growth.