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WHAT TO DO IN MARCH

These are just a few of our suggestions for Central Texas. Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the best, most comprehensive advice, plants and organic gardening supplies, all appropriate to our area and the current season.

SOW SEEDS
Vegetables: Beans, Beets. LATE MARCH: Black-eyed Peas, Chard, Corn, Cucumber, Malabar Spinach, Mustard, Pumpkin, New Zealand Spinach, Summer Squash.

Herbs: Chives, Epazote, Milk Thistle. late march: Basil.

Annuals:  Castor Bean, Cleome, Cypress Vine, Gomphrena, Gourds, Marigold, Moonflower, Morning Glory, Nicotiana, Sunflowers.

PLANT
Vegetables: Chard, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Malabar Spinach, Mustard, Peppers, Pumpkin, New Zealand Spinach, Summer Squash, Tomatillos (you need at least two!), Tomatoes.

Herbs: Artemesia, Basil, Bergamot, Catmint, Catnip, Chives, Comfrey, Scented Geraniums, Echinacea, Feverfew, Lavender, Lemongrass, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Santolina, Savory, Sorrel, Thyme.

Annuals: Cleome, Cockscomb, Coleus, Cosmos, Gomphrena, Gourds, Lion's Tail, Marigold, Nicotiana, Pentas, Torenia, Zinnias.

Bulbs: Caladium, Cannas, Daylilies, and Giant Elephant Ears.

Perennials: Blackfoot Daisy, Cigar Plant, Damianita, Esperanza, Firebush, Plumbago, Spiderwort.

Trees and Shrubs: March and April are reasonably mild months for planting trees and big shrubs. In warmer months, more attention is required for success.

Please visit The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive selection of seeds and plants appropriate to the season. We only sell seeds and plants that are in season and suited to growing in Central Texas...

FEED AND CULTIVATE
Till in winter cover crops. Allow two weeks for the cover crop to decompose in the soil before planting in that area.

Spray your plants with seaweed for increased heat tolerance, winter hardiness, and pest and disease resistance. Seaweed contains naturally-occurring plant hormones, micronutrients and trace minerals that are vital to plant health, and when it’s used as a soil drench, seaweed is a great natural root stimulator and anti-stressor for plants. All plants love seaweed!

It’s time to fertilize your lawn. Central Texas lawns need to be fed twice a year (in spring and fall) and the best fertilizer to use is Lady Bug 8-2-4. We make Lady Bug 8-2-4 ourselves but that’s not why we claim it’s the best: it was independently tested and proved superior to other fertilizers. If someone ever tries to tell you that you’ll sacrifice results by going organic, tell them about the “Stillhouse Study." The Stillhouse Study was conducted by Texas A&M University and the City of Austin, and they compared effectiveness and environmental effects of fertilizers. Our very own Lady Bug 8-2-4 All-Purpose Fertilizer outperformed all others in the study, including some well-known national brand synthetics. Lady Bug 8-2-4 is 100% organic and it produced greener grass, healthier root systems, and it didn’t pollute run-off water. (Synthetic fertilizers are a major source of water pollution--- another good reason to go organic!)

PRUNE, SPRAY, MAINTAIN
Continue to protect tender plants, especially new seedlings, before a freeze.

Once danger of frost has passed, move citrus trees and other tropicals outside.

Tidy up. Remove hiding places for pests and diseases by raking up leaves and gathering fallen limbs and fruit. Put gathered debris into your compost pile and turn it regularly to keep the pile hot.

If you haven’t aerated your lawn within the past 3 to 5 years, then do it this spring. Topdress with compost before or after aerating for maximum benefit.

Topdress your lawn, flower beds and gardens with compost. You need to do this at least once a year to replace the organic matter that gets used by plants and washed away by watering. (In vegetable gardens, add compost each growing season.) Topdressing with compost builds and maintain a healthy, fertile soil layer. It adds nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to your soil, it improves texture and increases soil depth, and it helps your soil hold moisture. Some studies say topdressing with compost will cut a lawn’s water use in half – that’s a huge savings!

Check for aphids on new growth, especially on new transplants. One surprising solution for aphids is to spray them with fish emulsion. One step stronger would be Safer Insecticidal Soap spray. Sometimes even just a hard blast with water will dislodge them but be sure your plant’s big enough to withstand it. Whatever method you choose, spray once a day every 3 - 5 days until you get control.

Keep an eye out for whiteflies and thrips. They’re tiny but they’re fairly easy to indentify by their predictable habits. Whiteflies are easy to spot because they always fly up in a little cloud when their host plant is disturbed. Also, their sticky exudate often causes a sooty black mold to grow on plant leaves. Thrips are harder to see but you might feel ‘em! If you’re in the garden and you’re getting nipped by something that isn’t a mosquito, check the plants around you for thrips. Thrips are the little “no see ums” of the garden, and while they may nip a human now and again, they feed on plants. They especially love roses, and because insecticides cannot reach inside the closed buds, all buds should be removed and discarded. (Alas!) If you do find whiteflies or thrips in your garden, spray with Organocide or All-Seasons horticultural oil once a week for three weeks.

Check new foliage on crape myrtles, squash and roses for powdery mildew. If you find it, spray affected and surrounding leaves with milk. Yes, cow's milk is known to be a control for powdery mildew and you can use skim or whole milk. Spray every 5 to 7 days, and spray again whenever there is a new flush of growth. You can spray with Serenade natural fungicide instead but milk works just fine.


CONSIDER THIS
Climate data from 1950 – 2011 shows February 23 as the average date of the last frost at Austin’s Camp Mabry. The latest freeze on record at Camp Mabry was recorded April 9, 1914.

Keep your floating row cover nearby and handy in case we have a late cold snap. You can wrap tomato cages or pea trellises, and make tents for squash or melons. Row cover can also help protect new little transplants from strong springtime winds.

Learn what beneficial insects look like. Ladybug larvae and pupae may look like pests when you see them, but they can be your ally against aphids and many other pests! Acquire a good insect identification book, such as the Texas Bug Book by Malcolm Beck and Howard Garrett, or The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, published by Rodale Press.

Take a hike! Enjoy one of our many beautiful trails around town. See how the Greatest Landscaper -- Mother Nature -- designs, plants, and mulches our biggest garden on earth!

Attend one of our Free Classes or subscribe to our eNewsletter for weekly updates on what’s in stock, tips, and new and featured products.

 

 

 
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