Calif.--March 20 is officially the first day of spring, but southern California
gardeners don't have to wait until then to start their spring planting, say
experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil
products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California
Prepare Garden Soil: Cultivate the soil down one foot. Mix in appropriate
organic soil amendments before planting. If the soil is mostly clay (sticky and
clumpy), use an amendment that will loosen the soil allowing roots to grow and
water to penetrate. If the soil is sandy, add organic humus to build up the
Plant Warm Season
weather vegetables yields have just about run their course in March. It's time
to trim the hardy plants for possible regrowth or remove them and plant summer
vegetables as long as the danger of frost has past and the soil is warm. Soil
should be consistently about 60 degrees. It's early enough in the season to
plant vegetables from seed. These include tomatoes,
peppers, green beans, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, onion, potatoes, spinach,
turnips and corn. You can still plant cool-season vegetables including
broccoli, lettuce, cabbage and kale.
Keep Weeds Under Control: If you have been adding mulch to your garden over that
past several years, weeds should be relatively few. Besides suppressing weed
growth, mulch adds to the nutrients in the ground as it slowly decomposes and it
keeps moisture in the soil as the weather warms. Add at least two to three
inches around trees, shrubs, flowers and plants. Be careful to keep the mulch from
touching tree bark or plant stems.
Fertilize Citrus and
Avocado Trees: Spring and fall are the best time to give your trees nutrients. Feed avocado, citrus
trees, fruit trees and roses with a well-balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen. Fertilize prior to new signs of new growth.
Prepare Lawns for Spring Growth: Depending on the type of
grass, lawn growth may have come to a standstill during winter. To encourage growth,
rake the lawn lightly and aerate to loosen compacted soil (aerators can be
rented at local nurseries).
Divide Perennials: Over the winter, perennials such agapanthus, asters, bellflowers,
callas, cymbidiums, daylilies, rudbeckia, Shasta daisies, penstemon and yarrow,
can become crowded. Divide them by digging up each clump so that the rootball
comes up intact. Wash or gently shake off excess soil, then cut into divisions
with a sharp knife. Each division should have plenty of roots and a few leaves.
Replant immediately, leaving several inches between each plant.
Plant Blooming Flowers for
Full Garden: If you can't wait for
summer flowers to come in season, there is a variety of blooming flowers
available at nurseries this month. Purchasing plants in bloom provides instant
color to gardens. Favorites include azaleas, camellias and Indian Hawthorne.
Natural Protection From Snails: Snails can decimate fruits and vegetables. Here are
natural ways to keep them away from your garden. Place a small copper wire
around your garden bed. Snails will receive a small shock when they come in contact.
Place crushed eggshells around plants. Snails have a soft underbelly and will
not try to pass over the sharp shells.
Labels: citrus trees, preparing soil, Southern California, warm season vegetables, What to plant in March