March Gardening for Southern California, here is a list of what to do in your Southern California Garden in March
1. Fertilizing – By the end of the month you should be able to start your plants on their regular fertilizing schedule. Citrus, avocados, hibiscus, and bauhinia to name a few love a low nitrogen organic fertilizer. If you have a California Native garden or a California Native area of your bed, you don’t need to fertilize.
2. Check your mulch – If your planter beds have used up their mulch, it is time to replenish. bring it up to 3” deep. Your mulch will help you conserve moisture, control weeds, and it looks nice. California natives use shredded redwood bark (gorilla hair) or gravel depending on which types of plants you have.
3. Insects Control – You can handpick bugs off your plants, wash them off, or spray with organic insect controls. Another great option is finding the proper beneficial insect for your problem and add them to your garden. I actually found aphids on some of my iris two weeks ago! Early, yes but in this heat – you can see how they might be confused. I simply washed the iris off with water and so far I have not seen them return. (I didn’t even use soap).
4. Plan Ahead for Veggies – Don’t forget to add Tomatomania to your calendar. If you want seedlings but don’t want to take the trip to one of their events, you can visit my website and contact me there or, call me at 661-917-3521 and I’ll be happy to pick up some plants for you provided you live near me.
5. Irrigation Check – If you are in drought-prone areas (all of SoCal this year?) and you don’t have irrigation, you can add a simple drip-irrigation system. You can also install Hunter Precision nozzles or MP Rotators which conserve water. Even California Natives will need some water this summer because we had very little water in the winter when they needed it to store up for the summer. If you can supplement your native’s water through March you can really help them out, they become more resistant to summer drought if they are well-watered now. You might also do a little investigating into removing lawn and installing some more drought tolerant plantings.
6. More Veggie Prep – You can sow seeds for peppers, okra, lemongrass, and watermelons now.
7. Fruit Planting Tip – If you live in LA (city), OC, Ventura, or SFV you can plant avocados, papaya, and mangos. If you live in SCV you should stay away from those but planting guavas, citrus, persimmons, tabebuia, and tibouchina trees is fine. For a wonderful selection of subtropical fruits (and a lot of great information) visit Papaya Tree Nursery (Call ahead to make an appointment).
8. If you want your strawberries to be bigger and sweeter, you can pinch off the blooms starting now and continue on till May.
9. Don’t forget to add plants that will attract beneficials to the garden – it is especially good for those veggie beds. You want plants that produce nectar or pollen so try some California Native Yarrow, Buckwheat and Asters also Cosmos, Lavenders, and Feverfew will bring your friends around.
10. Speaking of cutting back, it is warm enough to cut back those small ornamental grasses that benefit from a haircut, as well as thyme, sage, rosemary, and mint. Don’t forget to start fertilizing with a nice organic balanced fertilizer.
11. When your stone fruit, pears, and apples reach 1/2″ in diameter you can thin them out to about 5″ apart.
Mark You Calendar – Plan on spending March 22, 2014 at Green Thumb with me for a Free Seminar at Green Thumb’s Spring Open House. I’ll be speaking about Drought Tolerant Gardens. My seminar starts at 10 am and will be staying around till about noon to walk the nursery with you if you have questions.
Enjoy refreshments, vendor’s booths, and children’s activities. Take advantage of 10% savings on most items purchased in store during this Open House Event! firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to see you there! Green Thumb is located at 23734 Newhall Ave. Newhall, CA 91321.