by Bob Dailey, Master Gardener
March Gardening Chores
Well, spring in Montgomery County is almost here, I hope. Lots of cold nights still ahead, I think. Although we’ve all had bad luck stories about planting too early, myself and many of my fellow gardeners have set March 6 as our new tomato planting date.
However, in a discussion with Michael Potter, our county agent, and several other master gardeners, it’s just too cold this year to use March 6 as a firm planting date.
Tomato plants can be stunted and/or seriously damaged when nighttime temperatures go below 55 degrees. Between the first of March and March 15, there are 12 days that the temperature is expected to fall below 55 degrees. I would certainly wait until the middle of March to plant and watch temperatures closely.
It’s tough to face, but lawns will probably not come out of dormancy entirely until the end of this month. Restrain yourself from fertilizing or cutting the grass until all the cold weather has passed. However, you may see some winter weeds coming up. You can use a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent the early spring weeds. Or you can wait until the weeds are up. Since they’re annuals, they cannot reproduce without dispersing their seed. Before they form seed heads, set your mower it’s highest position and cut the weeds.
I think you’d better wait until April to spread compost on your lawn. If you haven’t aerated in a while, think about doing that before you spread the compost.
If you planted onions in January or February, they’re probably on their way to forming large bulbs. Each green leaf that comes out of the original plant means another layer of rings on the onion bulb resulting in larger onions. You’re probably getting close to five to six leaves now, so you might want to fertilize them now. You can find more details on growing onions at https:agrilifeextension.tamu.edu
I am told that the optimum time to plant potatoes is Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), but you can still put them in the ground now. I wouldn’t wait any later than March 15 though. Here’s a hint: instead of spending a lot of money on potato slips, go to your supermarket and buy a bag of organic potatoes. Non-organic potatoes are treated with a chemical sprout inhibitor. Organic potatoes, on the other hand are not sprayed with this inhibitor.
Get your beds ready
If you haven’t ordered seeds for your spring garden, do so now. Right now, especially if you buy them from an online supplier, Get your beds ready too. Mix compost and fertilizer now into your garden soil. (You can also get fertilizer tips from the site above).
Master gardeners are planning monthly speaker events for the public. Check out the “Events” section of this site for information and topics.
And don’t forget the Spring Plant Sale, March 26.