Skip to comments.Weekly Gardening Thread -- March Madness!!!
Posted on 02/29/2008 4:19:25 PM PST by Gabz
March is blustery days and bright sunshine and rain and the smell of warming soil. It seems a magical thingsoil is always there, so how come the right combination of sun and rain and warmth lets us know that its time once again to garden? The technical name for the way the soil smells is geosminliterally earth smell, but magic is close enough. Geosmin is a magic all gardeners are well aware of and accept without question, no matter what you call it. In reality, the smell is caused by a type of bacteria that grows in the soil, called actinomycetes. When it rains, these bacteria release spores into the air, like a great big aerosol air freshener. We recognize it on some deep, elemental levellike marsh mud, its the very essence of life, distilled.
The sunshine and the smell call to us, reminding us that once again its time to plant. And not only does it call to ushave you ever seen anyone plow around here and not attract a flock of seagulls? I wonder if they can smell it as well, and know that there are plenty of juicy bugs being disturbed and put on the buffet just for them?
March is a little early for tomatoes and warm season crops, but if you havent gotten your cole crops out yet, now is the perfect time. Think how wonderful a mess of May peas and new potatoes is going to taste a couple of months from now! Dont delay much longer, or the heat will get the cool season stuff! Hard to remember unrelenting heat and high humidity with the weather February brought us, isnt it?
Things will begin greening up soon, although Januarys warm weather had a lot of things fooled. Some of the oaks were leafing out in January, daffodils and hyacinths were sprouting, and even a few gladiolas were sprouting up several inches above the ground.
Plants dont understand the concept of time as we do. If it gets cold, then hot again, they think theyre supposed to do their thing and grow. They dont know whether its been cold for a couple of nights or a couple of months. Colddormant. Warmgrow.
One of the first things to green up is an annual winter weedSolvia pterosperma. (Winter weed means it grows during the winter months and dies back when it gets hot.) Solvia pterosperma is also known by the names lawn burweed, spurweed, and burr clover, to name a few. You may not know what its called but you probably know what it looks like. Its prostrate, which means it grows flat along the ground rather than growing upright. Burweed looks like a flat dog fennel.
Right now it just looks like a nice green patch in an otherwise brown yard. Take note of those green patches, because in another month or two the whole yard will be green and youll lose sight of the burweed. Youll know it when you step on it barefoot. Think flat sandspurs. These nasty little weeds are a big nuisance. The prickers, shield shaped with sharp stickers on the top edge, are the seeds and they are excellent hitchhikers. If youve been to any ball field or boat ramp in the county, or any place else that has grass parking lots, thats probably where you picked up the bothersome pests. They stick to your tires or your shoes, and anywhere they drop off, they make a new plant. Burweed is an invasive plant and is spreading farther and farther each year.
There are several ways to attempt to get rid of this invasive weed. The best method is to do something before they go to seedright now! Too low for the lawnmower to affect them, they spread more and more each year as the prickers get carried throughout your yard.
If you just have a few, digging them up helps tremendously, and theyre easy to spot right now. Of course, if there are any seeds from last year, theyll come up again. Same thing with the seeds being tracked in from somewhere else.
The other option is to spray. Chemicals that will help are Atrazine, or anything containing Trimec or 2-4-D. Use caution when spraying close to the root zone of ornamentals, as always. These sprays shouldnt hurt your grass because the grass should still be dormant. Pinecones are down and covering the ground. Theyre a pain to pick up, but your mower will thank you. Not only do mower-thrown pinecones pose a serious hazard, theyre death on mower blades. Pinecones make great gifts. What?! If you have somewhere to store them so the squirrels cant get to them, pick them up and save them. Fix a pretty basket of pinecones to give to friends next fall or for Christmas. Those with fireplaces or woodstoves will appreciate them, or you can save them for yourself. Pinecones are decorative by themselves just in a basket, but they make excellent fire starters. For additional fire starting power, dip them in melted wax. You can even sprinkle them with glitter before the wax hardens to make them showier.
Reminders for this month:
Start spraying your roses as soon as they start leafing out to prevent black spot and other rose diseases.
Bluebirds usually show up about mid-month, so make sure your birdhouses are cleaned out and ready. The old nests should be pulled out and destroyed. Birdhouses can be cleaned with a light mixture of bleach and water.
Remember to spray your fruit trees with fruit tree spray as soon as the buds swell, and keep spraying them according to label directions. If you wait until the fruit is ripening, its too late.
If your garden needs lime, go ahead and put it out now. Lime takes a little while to begin working, and it has to be incorporated into the soil, unlike fertilizers which will work their way down. Not sure if you need lime? Its not too late to send a soil sample to NC. State.
58 here, supposed to reach 68. Low tonite of 34. Gotta love our weather!
Wow. I guess! :)
Beautiful—sunny, the wind’s got a bite but it’s about 85 in the greenhouse and I’m stuck in the store waiting on customers!
Now that’s a shame. Still..
Been that way. 70 last Weds and 28 Weds nite. We had all our cole stuff outside, had to move it back into the greenhouse. It probably would have survived but it’s too pretty to let it get burnt.
It is a baby grapevine, only planted last year. If I prune there will be absolutely nothing left!
I did try looking around online. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
I'm definitely growing some lettuce this year.
um, it’s still snowing and the ground is frozen....(sigh)
Now i have a dormant lawn and am starting to see some green spots intermittently and am looking for guidance.
The lawn was laid by the builder when we built the house about 2 years ago.
Does any of that help clear up my situation?
Bermuda should still be dormant. Don’t know what to tell you about the Scott’s products. Don’t know much about them except that they’re death on centipede—too much nitrogen.
Depending on what kind of crabgrass preventer you have, it might be okay to use it now. Read the label and see. Some of them only keep the seeds from germinating, and some will kill already germinated as well. You could always spot spray, just remember to stay away from shrubs and trees.
Thank you for your assistance. Also, i assume that i could pull one of the green patches and take it to the nursery and get their opinion.
i could pull one of the green patches and take it to the nursery and get their opinion.
That should work. Mostly winter weeds right now anyway. They’ll die when it gets hot, and you get to start all over. :)
Same here right now.
It’s supposed to be in the 50’s Monday.
“58 here, supposed to reach 68. Low tonite of 34. Gotta love our weather!”
We’ve been having weird weather too ... a few ice storms last couple weeks, then 60’s today and 70’s tomorrow. We’re supposed to have snow on Monday and Tuesday, with highs in the 30’s. I guess it is kind of a weird transition time between winter and spring. I imagine that’s not the last of the strange weather. I did enjoy getting a little glimpse of spring today ... wonderful.
Wow, -12 ?! Hope you’re keeping warm.
I guess I should be thankful for our cold weather lately. We haven’t gotten that cold this year. Single digits were bad enough. I hate that biting feeling on any exposed skin ... no fun. I’ve been threatening for a long time to get one of those hats with only eye holes, and finally got one this winter, but haven’t worn it in public just yet :)
We did have one beautiful day of spring weather today, but next week goes back to winter.
Lots of sweaters. The furnace was really chugging away that morning.
Are there other plants that I should not plant where the tomatoes were? I will be planting zucchini, cucumbers, bell and various verities of hot peppers, watermelon and I have not decided what else yet.
It’s good to move your veggies around in the garden, as different veggies take different nutrients out of the soil. Farmers do this on a large scale, too. One year they’ll plant soybean all around us, which puts nitrogen back INTO the soil, the next season it’ll be corn that takes nitrogen OUT of the soil. Below is a link to a basic planting rotation guide for the home gardener.
It really does work, and keeps your production up. If you don’t have room, or sunlight conditions aren’t right, it won’t kill anything if you don’t move veggies, but just make sure you fertilize the individual plants well, or add compost to the entire garden bed each season.
I have raised beds and will be removing some, not all, of last years soil and use it to fill low areas and where my dogs have caused problems. I will replace it with a top soil - Black Kow mix and lots of compost mixed in.
I will rotate the tomatoes!
Dittos on what Diana said, and because it helps keep down diseases if you rotate crops.
Any sign of life from your figs yet? The cuttings we took in Jan are starting to bud out—woohoo! They are in teh greenhouse, tho! :)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.