Richard Green, of Green Landscape Nursery, has 17 years of experience gardening in the Santa Clarita Valley. He's seen it all: frost, flood, drought. And he'll share with you here what you need to do in your garden this month.
AFTER THE FREEZE
Care for Frost-damaged Plants
January's unusually low temperatures may have taken a toll on some plants in your garden. Frost causes ice crystals to form in plant cells, preventing the plant from absorbing moisture. Frost-damaged leaves wither and turn dark brown or black.
It may be tempting to immediately cut out all the damaged foliage, but pruning them may force new growth, stressing the plant and leaving it vulnerable to another cold spell. Also, the full extent of the damage won't be known for several months, and early pruning may remove branches that will eventually recover. So wait until you see new growth (about the first week of April), then cut out everything that is weak or dead. (Fertilize in mid March to stimulate growth.)
Until the damaged plants have regrown normal foliage, water only if they are dry, because overwatering may encourage the growth of root rot. Plus, it will probably stimulate excessive undesirable growth and/or suckers.
PLANTS--TIME TO FEED THEM!
How's that New Year's diet working for you? Do you feel a little tired when you haven't eaten enough? Don't let your plants feel that way! They need proper feeding to grow strong and healthy, and March is a critical time to feed them. Roots actually begin actively growing even before plants leaf out, and they need a good supply of nutrients readily available to them. Come in and let us help you select some of the newer (organic) fertilizers we now carry. Here's a guide:
MARCH SUCCESS TIPS
1. Begin planting to beautify your yard!
- Lawns: NitraKing or Marathon Lawn Fertilizer
- Fruit Trees: Greenall Fruit Tree & Vine Food
- Camellias, azaleas, gardenias: EB Stone Organic Azalea, Camellia, & Gardenia Food
- Most other plants: Greenall Multipurpose 16-16-16
You must come in and see everything, especially the new varieties that come in weekly in limited numbers, and sell out quickly.
2. Choose roses
for planting now, and fall in love again with the "queen of flowers!" We have 10,000 to choose from!
3. Keep ahead of weeds.
We have a variety of weed killers, preemergents and mulches that make gardening much easier--describe the weeding nightmare you want to avoid, and we'll show you what to use.
4. Plant vegetables--
you can start with lettuce and other cool season vegetables that love our cool weather, and then plant tomatoes and warm season vegetables as the soil warms up.
GROW ATTRACTIVE VEGETABLES
During World War II, the "Victory Gardens" of 20 millions homeowners produced nearly 40% of the fresh vegetables consumed in the U.S. In the following decades, the number of backyard vegetable gardens declined for several reasons.
Supermarkets, offering picture-perfect produce, replaced the corner market, and faster transportation methods brought fresh fruits and vegetables to market more quickly. Also, people began spending more time at work and vacationing and less time at home.
Now the pendulum is swinging back the other way as flavorless supermarket produce has more pesticide residue, and reports of food-borne illnesses and contamination appear regularly in the news. Plus, consumers are being educated on the health benefits and superior flavor of fresh homegrown foods.
Vegetables can be grown in places other than long rows in the backyard. Many have attractive foliage and can be incorporated into
for added greenery. (Leaf crops like Swiss chard and lettuce, plus herbs like cilantro and parsely, can survive with less sun than most vegetables.) Use large
on patios to grow bush varieties of green beans, cucumbers, and squash. Centuries ago in Europe, green peppers were grown as attractive shrubs before they became recognized as culinary plants.
Vining vegetables such as beans, melons, and cucumbers can be grown on a
or along a
fence. Window boxes
were made to accommodate herbs.
So start growing vegetables, and know the food you're eating is fresh, safe, and tops in taste!