In The Month of March Now Is The Time

All gardeners at this time have an urge to get their hands into the rich, warm earth. Though a hit of frost may still be in the ground, we can sow seeds of hardy plants, especially kinds that resent transplanting.

These include poppies, larkspurs, spinach, lettuce, peas, beets, radishes and parsley.

Start the Coldframe

In the coldframe, start such flowers as asters, stock, snapdragon, salvia and pot marigolds. For vegetables, there are cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and tomatoes.

Allow plenty of space for development, and if you must start seeds in the house in fiats, sow sparsely to save thinning later.

To help prevent damping off disease, the fungicide Captan. It is practically odorless and is far less toxic to man and animals than most other revolutionary chemicals.

Plant Sweet Peas

As soon as the ground is friable and frost free, plant sweet peas in trenches, cover with two inches of fertilized soil and fill trenches gradually as the plants develop.

Set out pansy plants as soon as danger from frost nipping is over. If after planting there is danger of frost, cover at night with newspaper, inverted baskets or hot caps.

Uncover with Caution

Some flower beds may be uncovered now, but don’t be hasty. Do it hit by bit instead. On a cloudy day remove the winter covering from evergreens and boxwoods.

Also uncover strawberry beds gradually, allowing time to become adjusted slowly to the increased light. Press back firmly plants heaved out by frost.

Set out new beds of strawberries as soon as weather permits, providing a sunny location and well drained soil. Keep the crowns level with the surface of the soil and set plants about 16 inches apart in rows.

Prune Small Fruits

Prune small fruits, such as currants, raspberries, gooseberries and blackberries. Grapes need pruning before the sap begins to flow, otherwise the vines will bleed. If bleeding occurs, a dab of tree paint will stop the flow.

Rake the lawn to remove leaves and feed with a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-6-4, 7-7-7 or 8-6-2. Reseed old lawns and bare spots on new ones. Rolling is not always necessary, but wait until soil is relatively dry when doing it.

Repot House Plants

Indoors, repot house plants in larger containers, using fresh potting soil. Allow an inch or two of broken flower pot chips or stones in bottom of containers for drainage. Also pinch back leggy growth.

Among house plants episcias are recommended because they need little sunshine. Keep moist and provide a humusy, well-drained soil. Repot azaleas in peaty soil, give plenty of light and moisture and pinch to induce bushy growth.

Force a clump or two of hardy violets. Lift from the garden, pot and place in a sunny window. After flowering, plant outdoors in a shady spot.

Pruning Time

Before buds begin to break on roses, prune to remove dead, weak and diseased wood. Thin plants to make more open and cut hybrid teas back to eight inches, a foot, a foot and a half or higher, as your practice may be. Climbers flower on the past season’s wood, so do not be too severe with them.

Prune, also, trees and shrubs. Be drastic with butterfly-bush, rose of Sharon, vitex and other summer-flowering shrubs because they flower on the current season’s growth. Heavy pruning of spring-flowering kinds, like forsythia and lilac, should follow flowering.

Start Tuberous Begonias

Start tuberous begonias indoors in a mixture of sand and pcatmoss at a temperature of 70 degrees or higher. Without this warmth, sprouting will be delayed. Give strong but not direct sunlight, and plant in the garden when all danger of frost is past. Indoors, give enough light to prevent spindly growth.

To enjoy canna blooms during the summer months, give tubers an early start indoors. If planted outdoors where the growing is of insufficient length, flowers will come at frost time. Give full sun for best results.

Spray for Scale

Spray lilacs, fruit trees and euonymus with lime-sulphur or an oil emulsion when the temperatures will stay above 45 degrees for 48 hours. Dormant application must be put on before the buds show signs of breaking.

To increase your supply of dahlias, plant tubers in moist sand or soil and root the sprouts, when three or four inches high, in moist sand. New shoots will appear from the tubers.

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