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Get it Growing: Set your March gardening activity calendars
Welcome back to “Get It Growing” written by Washington State University-Certified Master Gardeners of Clallam County!
“Get It Growing” will appear weekly March through October.
This first article of the month reviews gardening activities typically done during that month and highlights seminars, plant clinics and other events offered locally.
This year, several articles will focus on the various aspects of “Accessible Gardening.” Lichen, growing carrots, revamping your front yard into a vegetable garden and controlling scotch broom are just a few of the many other topics. Join us and “Get It Growing.”
March 13 — Starting Seeds Indoors (Lois Bellamy)
March 27 — Mason Bees (Mary Flo Bruce and friends)
Brown Bag Seminars are held monthly from noon-1 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays at the Clallam County Courthouse’s commissioners meeting room, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.
Sequim Soroptimist Gala
Held March 15-16 at the Sequim Boys and Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St., see Master Gardeners Bill Wrobel, Jeanette Stehr-Green and Judy English and physical therapist Barb Paschal present a two-hour session on “Accessible Gardening.”
Beginning in March, clinics are held on Thursdays at the courthouse in Port Angeles from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Or call the Plant Clinic helpline at 417-2514.
• General: Fertilize rapidly growing plants, such as perennials, with a low-nitrogen fertilizer; do not over-fertilize. Pull annual weeds or cut off flowers to prevent reseeding. Plant seeds, propagate from your favorites and dig, dig, dig. Do not plant or transplant anything in freezing temperatures, which still can occur in early March.
• Flowers: Complete rose pruning and fertilizing. Divide and transplant summer-blooming perennials such as Shasta daisies, coral bells, astilbes, daylilies and asters. Share extra plants with (others such as friends orneighbors) or a school.
• Shrubs: Apply acidifying fertilizers, such as ammonium sulfate, to camellias, azaleas, heaths, heathers and rhododendrons as needed; use fertilizers in moderation and only if there are signs of nutrient deficiencies. Prune spring-blooming shrubs after they bloom so as not to remove this year’s flower buds.
• Trees: Wait until next month to prune landscape trees. Pruning encourages growth and unexpected cold weather can damage new growth.
• Fruit trees: If aphids and other pests have been a past problem, spray with dormant oils before bloom. If scab has been a problem, apply fungicides to apple trees as the leaves separate, and again at 7-10 day intervals until weather dries.
• Veggies: Dig garden beds deeply when they are dry enough to be worked. Add compost and fertilizer. Sow cool season vegetables like beets, chard, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips directly into the garden. Start tomatoes, peppers and eggplant indoors under lights. Transplant February cabbage-family seedlings from the cold frame to outdoors.
• Ground covers: Cut back vines to the ground or reshape them, including wisteria, purple-leaf grape, honeysuckle and kiwi. Clematis that blossom early should be pruned after they bloom; those that flower in summer should be pruned in late winter/early spring before they put on new growth.
• Lawns: Dethatch and aerate when the lawn is moist but not soggy. If thatch accumulates at the soil surface more than ½ inch, remove it since it prevents proper penetration of air, water and plant nutrients. Dig out or spot treat perennial weeds. Rake and over-seed bare spots with seed mix such as perennial ryes and turf type fescues, and add ¼ inch compost to settle the seed in and to give it a good start. Install new lawns. Grasses need at least 6 inches of well-drained soil with 2 inches of compost tilled in.
Kamera Muralt is a Washington State University-Certified, Clallam County Master Gardener.