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.
Garden Girl sent it to me on Wednesday, but Thursday went haywire on me and I got up this morning fighting the latest plague that was brought home from 4th grade :)
Better late than Never — weekly Garden Thread!
I’m not real good at the gardening thing yet. Just got started last year.
Funny that I saw this thread. I just got home from the depot with 3 bags of soil, some fertilizer, 2 tomato plants and new seeds because most of the ones from last year are kaput in their little paper egg carton homes. Drat! No chicken manure yet!
I was going to try doing the tomatos upside down in buckets this year.
I have a grapevine from last year that I was wondering about, if there are any grape experts lurking. I know they get kind of dead looking during their winter dormancy. When do they start to show signs of life again? I’m trying to determine if it’s just dormant or just flat out dead.
Hope you feel better soon Gabz.
I’m gonna have flats up the yang here in a week or so. Cops see my grow lights and will probably think I’m growing weed.
I don’t get to start my tomatoes, peppers and basil for at least another month. But I like dreamin’...
I don’t know what I’d do without my plants during Feb and early March before it warms up. Sure kicks the winter depression to see green things growing.
I work in a Garden Center and manage the Atrium all winter. I get my “green fix” that way.
I also have a TON of houseplants and grow lettuces and sprouts all winter. :)
I’m gonna go make myself a nice big salad for dinner, LOL!
Sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. We’ve had a couple sick in our household lately, but I think we’re over it ... knock on wood.
I’m definitely ready for some spring weather. It supposed to be in the 60’s tomorrow! I’m so excited. We’re going to take advantage of that tomorrow, since it’s supposed to snow on Monday.
Feel better soon.
It was -12 out this morning. :((
It’s supposed to be in the 40’s next week. It’s a start....
It isn’t March yet. You’re early.
The Flu is taking it’s toll on Eureka. The hospital is short of staff and lots of sick people coming into ER. This week I called a roofer, floor guy and a engineer and they were home in bed with this crude.
My wife was in bed all day Sunday with a temp and head cold. Son in law was home today with it and a friend across town has had it for a week.
And then there is the matter of my Hernia operation yesterday morning that went well but I am having severe Muscle problems with my legs and arms. It is very painful and difficult for me to get out of a chair and walk without help.
I did get the green house cleaned up early in the week so my wife can start her flower seeds soon...
I long for the evergreen lawn of So. Cal...but will do what needs to be done.
Can someone enlighten me?
We’re about to have a heat wave here. It was noticeably warmer (but not warm) on the 29th, and is supposed to hit freezing at last, this weekend. :’) March, it’s time to start a couple of tomato plants. I stumbled across what must be my last few precious saved “Golden Pearl” tomato seeds.
68° F | 42° F
75° F | 54° F
72° F | 42° F
48° F | 30° F
63° F | 40° F
|Partly Cloudy||Partly Cloudy||T-storms
80% chance of precipitation
|Chance of Rain
30% chance of precipitation
Sorry, Gabz. Already had my turn this year—twice! Hope you fel better!
The upside down tomato thing worked well according to some of my customers. Biggest prob was keeping them watered in eastern NC’s heat and humidity.
As for the grapes, check on-line sites or your local ag extension. Grapes need to be pruned now, and there is a method to the madness, so check it out.
The Flu is taking its toll
Here, too. The last place I’d wanna be right now is our hospital—not that I ever want to be there! :)
Hope you get to feeling better soon. Hernia op—tough to garden after that—tough to do anything!
Where in Texas—on the coast? What kind of grass do you have and what did you winterize with? Inquiring minds need to know!
Our grass is mostly centipede/St. Augustine. Way to early to fertilize, the reason being—fert will cause the grass to green up and if you do it too early and the temps drop again, it will really hurt it. End of Apr/first of May is good here on the coast of NC.
Time here to put out pre-emergent, depending on what weeds you have. You can go on-line or check with your local ag extension agent/garden center for more detailed info.
Hope you're feeling better!
Holy mackeral. That's cold.
I think it snowed most of the night. We're in the midst of a beautiful light snowfall, with giant flakes. Current temp is 31 degrees.
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! :)
I also have a Hood pear tree and it needs a companion. I would like to get a Florida Home or a Baldwin pear tree either would be great for my area. Problem is no one is selling pear trees locally. Plenty of places over the Internet to get them but I just need one pear tree and every Internet site requires a minimum purchase ranging from $35 - $50 then add in shipping! How disappointing!
Tomorrow is forecast 80 with T'storms.
60 here today, 70 tom. No wonder the plants don’t know what to do.
Your figs will pop pretty soon, just remember to keep them watered, even while they’re dormant.
We can’t find any fruit trees, either. All the suppliers seem to have gone out of business, or like you said, they want an arm and a leg.
I really did not want the pear tree. Now I find out the type they sent needs a companion to produce. Oh, and they don't carry any of the recommended companion pear trees. The web sites that do, sell them for anywhere from $9 to $25 but with a $50 minimum order!
May be someone visiting this thread knows of a local nursery in their area that carries the Florida Home or Baldwin pear trees. I could then contact the nursery and see if they would ship, just one!
Soaked my peas and they went in the ground yesterday.
Cabbage, lettuce, and spinach seeded in this week.
Turned over the tater patch, there was a few big, hummer reds already starting.
Still have to get out and turn over my compost pile, harvest some from the bottom, and put the carrots in, but enough for today already...
My garden is buried in snow, over a foot of it. :((
Please add me to the weekly gardening list.
Right now Northeast Texas is in the same winter storm that's visiting my neck of the woods. Further south, things are already greening up.
Anyway, here's a reference that I suggest: http://aggie-turf.tamu.edu/
Probably the first thing you'd want to do is to identify what species of turfgrass you have. If you don't know, the aggies can do that for you if you send a sample. You'll want to know if it's a cool-season or warm-season species. If it's warm-season you'll want to put down a pre-emergent weed preventer. If it's a cool-season lawn you might want to choose either a pre-emergent or overseeding - you can't do both.
Anyway, the Aggies can tell you all about the particulars for your locale, and I'm pretty sure they have a county extension in each county where you can reference anything that isn't online, and also take samples for experts (usually folks with at least Bachelor's in Science / Horticulture) to look at.
I just read further in the thread and saw your later posts - didn’t mean to jump in where you’re already getting good advice, but the Aggie turf website is worth checking out...
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