Lots to be done in the garden in March
By Tara McKnight
Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent, horticulture, Wichita County
With the first day of spring on March 20, now is the time to get outside. The weather is great and lots to be done. Here is a list of some items that can be done outside this time of year.
--Plan for and invest in some permanent bulb plantings this year. Bulk bulbs are less costly than the small packages from nurseries or box stores. Once planted, the lawn may be mowed as usual after the foliage of the bulbs is dried.
--Prepare beds for planting flowers and vegetables. You may want to consider renting or buying a garden tiller to speed up the process; however, a strong back and a garden fork will still do an excellent job.
--For every 100 square feet of bed area, work in a several-inch layer of compost.
--The average last killing freeze date for our area is March 27. Remember that killing freezes can occur after this date.
--Pruning of evergreens and summer flowering trees and shrubs should be completed in early March. Prune spring flowering trees and shrubs as soon as they finish blooming.
--Select and order caladium tubers as well as geranium and coleus plants for late April and early May planting. Do not plant caladiums until soil temperature reaches 70 F.
--In North Texas there is still time to plant seeds of your favorite annuals in flats to be transplanted out-of-doors when danger of frost is past.
--Beware of close-out sales on bare-root trees and shrubs. The chance of survival is rather low on bare-root plants this late in the season. Your best bet at this time of year is to depend on container-grown or balled-and-burlapped plants for landscape use.
--Start hanging baskets of petunias and other annuals for another dimension in landscape color.
--Dig and divide summer and fall flowering perennials just before they initiate their spring growth.
--Start planting most of your vegetables now. We have a list of recommended vegetables at the office that shows when each should be planted. Come by and pick one up if you need one.
Your garden and landscape questions are always welcome. You may either contact me at our County Extension office, 940-716-8610, or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. You are always encouraged to visit the Wichita County Master Gardner website at www.overthegardengate.org. Another great website to visit for very useful garden hints and answers is http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/. This article, along with every article, will also be featured on www.joetomwhite.com 24 hours a day under county agents.