March garden tips: It’s finally time to start gardening

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March garden tips: It’s finally time to start gardening

March garden tips: It’s finally time to start gardening

Gardening season is actually here, as witnessed by the eruption of the spring bulbs. Daffodils seem to be everywhere this year. It’s still a bit too cold for some things, but we’re getting there.

Here what you can do now in the garden:

  • If you’re planning on growing potatoes this year, you’ll need to get those tubers in the ground by the end of the month. One of the easiest ways to grow potatoes is to cultivate them in a potato bag. You can even use a burlap bag or a large pot. Start by putting in enough soil to comfortably bury the tubers. When they begin to leaf out, cover them with more soil, and repeat until the bag or pot is full. You’ll have layers of potatoes — a big harvest in a small space.
  • Now’s a good time to plant some herbs. Many require full sun and all need well-drained soil. If you’re up to your ears in clay soil, consider growing herbs in pots.
  • We promised that you can start planting things, and while the soil is too cold for seedlings, you can sow seeds for beets, carrots, lettuce, radishes, spinach, borage and radicchio.
  • If you planted strawberries, you can start harvesting this month. Strawberries only need six hours of direct light a day to ripen, and we’re getting that now.
  • If you are anxious to get a head start on those wonderful summer crops, pay attention to the temperature of the soil, not the air. We may be starting to get warm, sunny days, but it takes longer for the soil to heat up. Invest in a soil thermometer, and don’t plant your summer crops until the soil is at least 60 degrees. You can speed things up by covering your garden beds with clear or black plastic.
  • If your azaleas and camellias have finished blooming, you can prune them back and fertilize them. Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen for them, plus the grounds help lower your soil’s pH.

— Contra Costa Master Gardeners contributed to this report.

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Published at Thu, 08 Mar 2018 17:00:58 +0000