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MARCH

March Gardening Tips

Chosen especially for gardenings in the Black Hills
March Garden Tips

*If weeds occur in bulb beds do not remove them by cultivation. Pull them by hand so that the bulbs and roots will not be disturbed.

*Some annuals, such as verbenas, snapdragons, and petunias, take 70 to 90 days to bloom. They should be started indoors in early spring or purchased as greenhousegrown transplants.

*Buy some new perennials for your flower border. Spring is a good time to renew and add variety to your landscape.

*Trees which bleed such as birch and maple should not be pruned until after their leaves are fully developed.

*After pussy willow catkins have passed their prime, prune the plants drastically to encour

age long branches and large catkins for next year.

*Complete the pruning of shrubs, ornamental trees before growth starts, except for spring flowering shrubs. Prune those which bloom in spring as soon as they finish flowering.

*Start transplants indoors of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

*Don't plow your garden when the soil is wet. It will form clods which are difficult to break up and interfere with cultivation during the summer.

*Plan your vegetable garden on a sheet of paper to utilize the space most efficiently. Remember to rotate the vegetables in the garden to reduce insect and disease problems.

*Buy a notebook and use it to keep all your gardening information. List what you plant in the garden. Include the name of seed companies, plant name, variety, planting date, and harvest date. During the growing season keep notes on how well the plant does. If the variety is susceptible to disease, record what was used to treat any problems. All this information will be helpful in planning future gardens.

*Parsley is rich in vitamins A and C. Start some seeds indoors now for later transplanting to a sunny corner of the vegetable garden.

*Pick a permanent spot for herbs in the garden. Many of them will come up year after year.

*If you haven't done it already, check stored tools and outdoor furniture for signs of rust. Remove any surface rust with steel wool and paint with rust inhibitive paint.

*Turn the compost pile.

* Place birdhouses built this winter outdoors this month. Birds will begin looking for nesting sites soon.

Thanks especially to the University of Nebraska at Lancaster


March in the Greenhouse

Hessayon, Dr. D.G. The Greenhouse Expert. New York: Sterling, 1988.

March is the beginning of the spring gardening season. Most bedding and potted plants grow very well in your Farm Wholesale Greenhouse. Some seeds like Tomato, Melon, and Cucumber need an extra heat source, while others such as Antirrhinum, Lobelia, and Petunia do not. Spring softwood cuttings can now be taken. If you have seedlings from an earlier sowing, they should now be transplanted to bigger pots. Established plants have begun to grow more actively and watering needs to take place on a more regular basis.

Feed growing plants with liquid fertilizer. Do not overfeed young plants. Use a fertilizer with a higher percentage of nitrogen to phosphate & potash for leaf growth. For flowering plants use a fertilizer high in potash. This will increase flowering at the expense of leaf growth.

Insects can become a problem this month. Keep on the lookout for greenfly, whitefly, and red spider mite. Spray with a greenhouse insecticide such as derris or permethrin before the problems get out of hand.

STARTING YOUR SEEDS

1. Start with good quality seed. Buy from a reputable supplier and donít open the packet until you are ready to plant the seeds.

2. Use a container that has good drainage. Avoid wooden trays as they can harbor disease organisms that are difficult to wash out. Plastic trays tend to be the best option.

3. Fill your container with compost or place directly in CocoLite planting medium. The surface should be about 1" below the top of the container. Sprinkle the surface with water the day before sowing. The surface should be moist but not wet. Scatter the seeds thinly over the surface. Larger seeds can be sown in rows.

4. Do not cover the fine seed with planting material. Other seeds should be covered to a depth that is twice the diameter of the seed in an even layer (follow the directions on your seed packet). Gently firm the layer with a board. Most but not all seeds need darkness to successfully germinate. Cover your seeds with a black plastic bag or a brown paper bag and place in your greenhouse for warmth. Do not use black plastic or a brown paper bag for seeds that need light to germinate such as Antirrhinum, Alyssum, Mimulus, Impatiens, Nicotiana, and Begonia.

5. Most seeds require a temperature between 65-70f degrees. Generally, you should germinate the seed at a temperature 10 degrees higher than the recommended temperature for growing the plant.

6. Once the seedlings break through the surface, remove the paper or black plastic. You may want to cover with a piece of glass or clear plastic for extra warmth & ambient moisture. Never let the compost or CocoLite medium dry out. Use a fine mister to water.

7. Once the first set of true leaves has opened the seedlings should be transplanted to trays or small pots with multi-purpose compost. Set the seedlings so the seed leaves are just above the surface. Handle the plants by the leaves - not the stems. Set seedlings 1-1 1/2" apart. Water as necessary and keep in temperatures between 50-55 degrees.

8. Seedlings destined for the outdoors must be hardened off to prepare them for life in the garden. Move the plants to the coldest part of the greenhouse and then to a cold frame. Set the plants outside during the daytime for a few days before planting in the garden.

Thanks to Farm Wholesale Greenhouses for compiling Hessayon's advice.

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