Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Middle South

March, 2004
Regional Report

Sow Pepper Seeds

If you want big flavors from your vegetable garden, start seeds of special peppers indoors now. Barely hot salsa peppers, such as 'Garden Salsa', bring a gentle kick to a wide range of dishes, and big roasters like 'Giant Marconi' are great on the grill.

Prune Ornamental Grasses

Hedge clippers make fast work of trimming the old tops from pampas grass, miscanthus, and other big ornamental grasses. Leave about 10 inches of basal growth intact, and rake up the old leaves to use as mulch. When you\'re finished, scratch an organic or timed-release fertilizer into the soil around the clump.

Plant Potatoes

If you've never grown your own spuds, you're missing a great garden treat. "New" potatoes, gathered from under the mulch while the plants are still green, are unbelievably juicy and tender. Choose an early-maturing variety from mail-order sources, or start with 'Red Lasoda', available at most farm supply stores.

Set Out Shrubs and Trees

All shrubs and trees grow most of their new roots in spring, so it\'s important to plant them as early as you can. Set plants at the same depth they grew in their containers. Follow up with a 3-inch-deep mulch to help keep the root zone moist.

Propagate Perennial Herbs

If you kept rosemary, thyme, or marjoram indoors through the winter, now\'s the time to take stem cuttings, strip off the lowest leaves, and dip the cut ends in rooting powder before potting them up in damp seed-starting mix. Kept moist, the cuttings should grow roots in about three weeks.


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