Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2008
Regional Report

Spray Woody Plants with Dormant Oil

As soon as the temperature stays above 40 degrees with no chance of freezing or rain for 24 hours, get out the dormant spray for fruit trees and any other trees or shrubs with pest problems. Avoid spraying on a windy day and avoid spraying blue spruce, junipers, and Japanese maples, which can be damaged.

Sow Cold-Weather Crops

Keep the soil thermometer handy and as soon as it reads consistently in the 50s, sow beets, carrots, radishes, parsnips, and turnips. Also sow leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, chard, mustard, and kale. Harden off those broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants to prepare them for the move out into the garden.

Start Summer Tubers Indoors

Start summer-blooming tubers indoors so they will be ready to move out when the weather warms. Use high-quality potting mix for caladiums, tuberous begonias, cannas, tuberoses, and elephant ears. Moisten the mix, plant the tubers, and keep them in a warm spot until growth starts. Then move into sunny window or under lights until danger of frost has passed.

Fertilize Houseplants

Houseplants will be starting their new growth soon, so begin fertilizing. Use a dilute solution and fertilize at the beginning of April, the beginning of May, and the beginning of June. Stop fertilizing at that point unless the plant is a blooming plant and needs constant feeding, such as African violet or orchid.

Plant Strawberries

Plant your strawberries as soon as the soil can be worked and before the summer heats up. Make every effort to plant the crowns at exactly the right depth so the roots can settle in and the buds will swell and start growing. Side-dress with compost or composted manure and be ready with straw mulch as soon as the soil warms.


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