Spring officially begins March 20 but there is no need to wait to start planning and planting your spring garden and landscape projects.
Evaluate Your Soil: With the heavy rains over the past few months, important nutrients from the soil may have leached out. Add soil amendments with the proper pH balance to encourage strong plant growth. Cultivate the soil down one foot. Add appropriate organic soil amendments before any new planting.
Start Your Spring Garden: Plenty of vegetables and herbs can be planted in the ground in March. Vegetables include beets, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, endive, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, strawberries, squash and tomatoes. Herbs to plant now are basil, chives, cilantro, dill and parsley. These vegetables and herbs can be planted from seed or as seedlings.
Plant Blooming Flowers: For an instant spring flower garden, plant blooming flowers such as azaleas, petunias, marigolds, bearded iris and geraniums. These and more are available at nurseries this month.
Add Fragrant Shrubs: A garden should smell nice as well as look nice. Add star jasmine, lilac or gardenia to your garden. Their scent will enhance the beauty of your landscape. Don’t forget sweet smelling herbs too such as sage and thyme.
Plant Avocado Trees: Now is the time to plant avocado trees. Patience is key, as the trees may not produce fruit for three to four years (longer if planted from seed). New trees need deep watering (especially during summer). Trees need full sun and plenty of room to grow (they can grow as high as 35 feet). Avocado trees are also available in dwarf size.
Practice Weed Control: If you haven’t kept up on weed control, by now, weeds could easily account for much of the greenery in your garden. Spend an afternoon or two weeding your yard and then add a layer of mulch. Mulch not only invigorates plants, but also suppresses weeds before they start. Add at least a two to three inch layer around trees, shrubs, flowers and plants.
Maximize Fruit Production: Apple, apricot, peach, and plum trees routinely set more fruit than the trees can ripen. As fruit begins to appear, twist off extra fruit when they reach about marble-size. Leave two of the largest and healthiest young fruits on each 12 inches of stem.
Fertilize Citrus Trees: Add a well-balanced citrus fertilizer early in March. Nitrogen is the primary nutrient that needs to be replaced (once in spring and again in fall). If leaves are yellow, the tree may be experiencing an iron deficiency. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package to determine quantity. Don’t apply the fertilizer directly to the base of the tree. Instead, place at the drip line.