Gardening Tips: March/April
March 1 is the date that we can consider ourselves past the danger of frost in our area. Of course Texas weather is full of surprises but it is nice to know we are considered safe to go ahead and perform the garden tasks that tell us to be sure the danger of frost is over.
I have been cleaning my beds taking extra care to dig out weeds rather than just pull them up. This is tedious but pays off in the long run because they are less likely to return. My next step is to mulch. I like to use 4 inches it helps to keep the weeds down and it protects the roots in our hot summer.
Vegetables are going to grow much better in a raised bed. It will provide better drainage and is easier to access making it easier to maintain. Some of the suitable vegetables to plant from seed right now are beans, just about any kind, collards, corn, cucumber, lettuce, radish, and turnips. You can transplant tomatoes, peppers and broccoli. I have already mixed compost into my vegetable bed so it is ready for seeds and plants. When planting seeds, cover the seeds about 2 -3 times the width of the seed with fine soil and water gently so the ground is saturated several inches. Once your seeds sprout thin them early so the ones left will not have to compete for nourishment. It seems harsh to discard of all those baby plants. Consider rinsing them off and using them in salad. Delicious!
My raised bed after planting first seeds. The bed is 25” to the fence making it easy to tend without standing on the soil.
A lush hanging basket is fun to make, adds beauty to any space and can be quite costly if purchased complete. It is an easy project and will give you months of pleasure. First purchase the plants that you will need. Make sure they are compatible in light exposure, water needs, and type of soil. Look for plants that will trail like lantana, lobella, petunias, and bacopa. Prepare your basket by placing a plastic saucer on the bottom if this will be a sun basket. Next mark your liner and cut X slits about 1/3 from the top
Fill the container to slightly below the slit openings and pat soil down gently. Thoroughly soak your plants to help them establish quickly. Cut them from their plastic pots and insert the roots into a plastic bag to protect them as you insert them into the slits. Remove the plastic and use soil to keep in place. Repeat around the pot.
Finally place plants in the center and around the perimeter up to about an inch from the edge. Fill in around each plant and apply slight pressure to firm soil. Making sure the roots are covered. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon slow release fertilizer (14-14-14) over soil. Water thoroughly. You may need to add more soil after the first watering. Top the soil with moss or another mulch to protect the roots and conserve water.
- Kathy Gilmore
Submitted by Kathy Gilmore Master Gardener Fort Bend County. Supported by AgriLife Extension,Texas A & M. For answers to gardening questions, please contact FBMG Hotline.FortBendmg@ag.tamu.edu Phone 281-341-7068 Fax 281-633-7070
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offers the knowledge and resources of both Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M Universities to educate Texans for self-improvement, individual action and community problem solving . We are part of a statewide educational network and a member of the Texas A&M University System which values and promotes citizen and community involvement, scientifically-based education, lifelong learning, and volunteerism. Extension is linked in an unique partnership with Fort Bend County Commissioners’ Court and the nationwide Cooperative Extension System.