March garden to-do list
by Rebecca Jepsen
March is here and with it comes spring.Here's a list of chores to keep you busy in your yard and garden.
Starting your own seeds gives you the flexibility to choose the varieties of vegetable and herbs you would like to grow, versus just what's available at your local nursery.You can directly sow peas, corn,beans and squash into the garden. It is best to start tomatoes, eggplants and peppers indoors and then transplant seedlings when they are developed and sturdy. Check the information provided on the seed pack for recommended timing and conditions.
Control weeds now while they are small and before they have gone to seed. It's also easier to remove the entire root by hoeing or hand pulling while the soil is moist.
Control slugs and snail by removing their hiding places (damp leaf piles, under boards, dense plants that touch the ground). Then handpick them early in the day or late in the evening. You can squish them in place, drop them in soapy water, or throw them in the trash. You can provide them a "one way" watering hole by filling small containers with beer, or by applying an iron phosphate product. Baits that contain metaldehyde are unsafe for children and pets.
Apply fixed copper spray to apples, pears and loquats if fire blight has been a problem in the past.
Control aphids by removing them from infected trees and shrubs with a strong water blast from the hose. Ladybird beetle (ladybugs) do an excellent job of controlling aphid populations. Plant white alyssum to invite ladybugs into your garden.
Apply dormant spray to deciduous trees and shrubs to control aphids, scale or whiteflies.
Apply tribasic copper sulfate or lime sulfur to your peach trees if they have been affected by peach leaf curl.
Clean up fallen leaves and debris,and add them to your compost pile if they are not diseased.
What to plant now
Bare root: Asparagus, roses,berries, artichokes, onions, fruit trees such as apple, apricot, cherry, fig, nectarine and pear.
Transplants: Arugula, beets,broccoli, cauliflower, chard, mustard greens, Asian greens, lettuce, peas, and spinach. Local nurseries should have a good supply of most of these.
Seeds: Beets, broccoli,carrots, cauliflower, chard, corn, fava beans, garlic, mustard greens, Asian greens, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, squash and tomatoes.
Rebecca Jepsen is a Santa Clara County Master Gardener. For a complete list of March gardening tips, go to www.mastergardeners.org/tips/march.html