Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

March, 2011
Regional Report

Start Seeds Indoors

Even more than saving money, the benefit of starting your own vegetable transplants means that you will have the varieties you want. Cole crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower should be started now. For tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, count back six weeks from your last frost date. Basil, parsley, and sweet marjoram are among the best herbs to start from seed for transplanting later. For best results in growing your own transplants, use a soilless germinating mix and provide plenty of light.

Prune Everbearing Raspberries

Everbearing raspberries, such as 'Heritage', 'Caroline', and 'Anne' are capable of producing two crops each year, one in June on canes that fruited at their tips the previous fall and another this fall on canes that grow new this year. Canes that fruited in fall last year and again in June should be cut off at ground level after their summer crop is done; if you haven't done so yet, do it now. Many gardeners choose the easier option of only harvesting the fall crop since it's easiest to cut down all canes now. The choice is up to you.

Check Power Equipment and Tools

You may have done maintenance on your power equipment and tools last fall, but it's still a good idea to check lawnmowers, string trimmers, and other power equipment as well as hand tools to ensure that they are in good working order. This gives you time to arrange for repair, hopefully, before they're needed. Assess hand tools, like spades, pruning shears, loppers, saws, and trowels to see if any new ones are needed. And don't forget to start out the season with a good pair of gardening gloves!

Transplant Dormant Trees and Shrubs

Do you keep wishing that certain trees and shrubs were somewhere else in your garden? This is an excellent time to transplant them while they are still dormant, and the soil is no longer frozen. For best success, dig as much of the root ball as possible and prune back at least some of the top growth. Mulch well around the plant. Be sure to maintain even soil moisture during the summer ahead.

Sow Cool-Weather Crops

Whenever the soil is dry enough to be worked, plant the first of the cool-season crops, such as onions, radishes, lettuce, and spinach. Toward the end of the month, plant beets, turnips, carrots, Swiss chard, and peas. Raised beds are great for early planting as the soil dries out more quickly in them. Growing in a cold frame or low tunnel will give the fastest germination and growth.


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