Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


March, 2001
Regional Report

Plant Peas

Snow peas, English garden peas, and nonedible sweet peas can be planted outside up to 6 weeks before your last frost date. Soak the seeds in water overnight before planting to help them germinate faster. Use a legume inoculant powder labeled for peas if you're growing them in a new location.

Take a Soil Test

If you haven\'t had your soil tested in the past few years, this would be a good time to test it while you prepare for the coming planting season. The test results will help you determine how much and what fertilizer to use and will also help you identify other soil amendments (such as lime) to add to your garden.

Prune Summer Shrubs

Spring-blooming shrubs such as forsythia, lilac, deutzia, and white-flowered spireas should be pruned after they bloom. However, summer-blooming shrubs such as Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), beautyberry, crape myrtle, butterfly bush, and the summer-blooming, pink-flowered spireas can be pruned now before early spring before growth begins.

Thin Crowded Seedlings

A forest of indoor-sprouting seedlings may be fighting for space, light, water, and nutrients in your seed-starting trays and pots. They should be thinned now to increase air circulation and reduce competition. Trim away excess plants at soil line (using nail scissors), trying not to disturb the \"keepers.

Control Crabgrass

If crabgrass is a problem in your lawn, apply pre-emergent crabgrass preventer before the forsythia blooms in your neighborhood. For an organic alternative to traditional weed and feed products, consider using corn gluten meal. It prevents seed germination and then breaks down to supply a small amount of nitrogen to the lawn.


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