Tofino gardening in March 2007
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Rain, rain, go away come again, sometime in May, but only for just one day, right now I want to go outside and play. when summer comes I know I’ll pray, for rain to come and stay a day.
But right now I need the sun to shine. Agghhhhh.
Somehow I knew winter was not through with us yet, even though many plants were blooming and trying hard to grow, we all get a little fooled by the few rays that we do get, and we are pretty spoiled here, minimal snow, no blizzards, or drops of freezing temperatures, but the rain, it makes it hard to think. It’s a good thing that gardens are forgiving and there is still plenty of time to play catch up, liming fertilizing and seeding to name a few, although all thoughts of spraying with a dormant oil spray have gone out the window, everything is far to along to try that. Must remember dormant spray in the fall, the weather in spring is far too unpredictable. Seeds are now readily available, and many can be started indoors to get them going early like tomatoes, and cucumbers. Some seeds can be sown directly into the garden at this point, and with a little help from a floating row cover or mini greenhouse they should produce, produce, in no time such as your lettuces and chards, peas, beans radish etc… Most of these can also be grown in pots or planters for those that have a smaller gardening area, or a balcony, and growing many plants in pots is sometimes easier than in the ground. The soil tends to warm up quicker, there is less weeding and better drainage, providing you remember to put drainage in, and with the amount of rain we do get here I do recommend a few extra holes. Starting your summer bulbs such as Dahlias, Glads, and Tuberous Begonias can be done this month as well. Remember to dead head any blossomed out spring bulbs, so they don’t produce seed heads and drain away all their energy for next year. Time to feed your fruit plants, and tidy up any beds from winter killed leaves and such. Prune any early flowering deciduous shrubs that have finished for the season, and any winter damaged evergreens. For those that have greenhouses, you may want to check for aphids already to get a handle on them before they get out of hand. I was inspecting some plants, and happened to notice some very tiny green dots. Slugs are already on the move and are leaving small but noticeable slime trails, so get them in your sights. Beautiful blooms for March, as always the top of my list is heather, can’t beat it, the amaryllis in the store are now putting on second and third heads that are going to be in bloom through March, the buds are extremely swollen and bursting forth with color on the Prunus Nigra, Prunus Kwanzan and other such like trees (flowering cherry/almond), Lenten Rose is making the shady parts of the garden look alive as well as the Dicentras (bleeding hearts) are up and looking promising. Clematis armandii should be out in bloom by April, and many perennials will be blooming as well, for bright spots by the front door try primroses, pansies and violas. And for the real true first show of spring and when a lot of gardeners time their pruning activities, the Forsythias will be in bloom. Let’s not forget out feathered friends, they are probably hungry, and would appreciate a snack I’m sure. And ponds will surely be waking up by now, and the fish will be demanding food. Tread carefully, and do not over feed. Hopefully Happier Drier Spring.
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino at 619 Tibbs Place Road.