Tofino Gardening in March
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Although some plants are in full bloom, and some are even finished
blooming for the season, most plants are just starting to break dormancy,
and things are starting to look bright and cheery. Hurray for spring!
This is the time of year that early to mid blooming spring plants,
such as rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias would appreciate a handful
or two of an organic fertiliser, we use a special blend of canola
meal, kelp meal, and bone meal, 3 times a year and swear by it, the
from using an organic fertiliser take a little more time to work,
but the overall health of the plants are far greater, and I think better
blooms are obtained.
As early spring flowering bulbs will also benefit from some form
of fertilisation, a light dusting of an all purpose fertiliser will
them along. Don't cut off the foliage as it brows and dies back,
these dying leaves provide the nutrients that the bulb will store and
use next spring. Also lime your lawn now, and in two weeks fertilise,
around mid month.
This is a good time to take a survey of your garden and see if there
are any spots that could use a little pick me up. Make a simple diagram
of your garden and add in where you want or plant next years crop
of spring flowering bulbs, make notes on the side about colours, heights,
varieties, etc. or make a lay over map with tracing paper.
For added colour now, there is the ever popular winter flowering
heathers that come in white to deepest magenta. Heathers can provide
all year round, keeping in mind you need an assortment of them to cover
the different seasons. I try and purchase heather in bloom, so you
can be sure of the colour. Witch Hazels are also in bloom now, and
are beautifully scented, especially if you catch them on a warm day,
or after the sun has been shining on them for a couple of hours. The
colours are bright, ranging in various shades of yellows and oranges,
and have the added bonus of great fall leaf colour as well. Don't
forget flowering cherries with their translucent pink blooms in single
or double blossoms, even before the leaves appear.
Seeds and bulbs are starting to arrive in garden centres. Hopefully
you've done some winter planning or dreaming, as early crop plants,
and cold weather plants should be started soon. Annual and perennial
seeds and bulbs should be started indoors at month end to get maximum
yield from your vegetables and flowers.
If you haven't already done so, it's time to start cleaning
out the vegetable and flower beds. Tidying up the beds helps to discourage
slugs, the ever dreaded earwigs and the ever over populated sow bugs.
Cleaning up the inside of your greenhouse, turning it from winter storage
shed to productive greenhouse, is always a chore, but worth the extra
effort. Give the overwintering plants a bit of water to help start
to rejuvenate them, and if this warm weather continues, you she be
seeing some growth happening soon. This is also a good time to check
your tools, do some oiling, sharpening and replacing of handles. Check
the gloves for holes, empty the hanging baskets and planters of old
tired things that got overlooked during the winter.
In general with the weather being so nice lately, I guess Mother
Nature has forgotten about us, (maybe she went to Mexico for the winter)
just a good time to be outside and enjoying the garden, because who
knows she may be stopping by in April to catch up with some of her
winter work just like the rest of us.
Trina Mattson runs the
OCN Garden Center in Tofino.