Gardening in March
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Just like last February, the weather this year was fantabulous, and the sun shone most of the month, although it was pretty cold, but I'll still take that over 40 days and 40 nights of rain fall. By the way did anyone check for an Ark in their backyard? Beyond that, things are swelling, I mean the flower buds, Prunus Nigra, Clematis Armandii, Hellebors, early spring flowering perennials, primroses and forsythias to name a few flowering plants that should be showing their colours this month.
Ponds should also be coming out of dormancy, so you may want to feed those fish, as they are becoming more active and will need to rebuild body mass that was depleted from being dormant all winter, but still watch for those hungry critters, as one of my little friends Seth said, his went for a walk with a raccoon in January.
March is a great time to be planting some early spring vegetable seeds, but again keep them protected, as the birds are fairly hungry at this time of year, and they'd be more than happy to eat all your vegetable seeds up, and once the seeds have sprouted, you may want to keep a cover on them, as there is a migrating little bird that will totally de-leaf your crop, in one day, watched it happen one March myself, a whole patch of lettuce and other stuff. And by late March you should be able to plant other vegetable seeds like beans and such, although it's still a little early for tomatoes and cucumber seeds to be planted. Just because the weather is cold, doesn't mean you can't plant flower seeds as late February, early March is a good time to be planting out some sweet pea and nasturtiums seeds.
Cool new tool this year, at least for me, is a stirrup hoe, took all of 2 minutes to weed the vegetable garden, rather than the usual 20, and if I can save time, you know I'm all for it.
Speaking of time, how about some Lime and fertilizer for those lawns, Liming can also be done to other vines as well such as wisteria, and don't forget to lime you lilac, but stay away from your Rhodos, Azalea and Camellias, and other such acidic loving plants.
Fertilize gardens and especially the Clematis, Rhodos, and other flowering plants, maybe a last pruning of those roses as well, and any winter damage to the evergreens. Watch your bulbs for slugs, as they can shred tulip leaves simply by looking at them. Remember to stake those tulips and daffodils that tend to have nodding heads as well as any that may be exposed to the wind.
Plant primroses and pansies by the front door for a bright patch of colour. Any heathers that have finished blooming, prune them back, to keep the growth compact, if you have a heather that has a bald spot in the middle, the best way to combat that is with minoxadil, oh, sorry wrong forum, just mound some soil over the center of the plant and it should rejuvenate itself in a season.
With the onset of spring you can also begin to replant or water any over wintered, begonias, dahlias, and gladiolas for example. And as always mulch, mulch, mulch.
Yahoo!!! Spring has arrived.
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.