Middle South

March, 2004
Regional Report

Seed Peas

All types of peas -- snow peas, snap peas, shell peas, and even fragrant sweet peas -- need an early start if they are to produce well before hot weather comes. Soak seeds in water overnight to plump them up before planting. Install a trellis from the get-go, because all peas need support.

Plant Bare-Root Roses

They may look half dead, but bare-root roses are very much alive. Plant them in sunny, well-drained soil that has been generously amended with organic matter, and watch them take off. So-called "English" shrub roses are a fine choice for beginners.

Fertilize Spring Bulbs

Daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs that have grown into crowded clumps will bloom better in future seasons if you feed them right now. Use a hand cultivator to scratch an organic or timed-release fertilizer into the soil around the bulbs. For best results, feed bulbs again in the fall.

Start Special Seeds

If you want to grow special varieties of tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant, now is the time to start the seeds indoors under lights. Concentrate your efforts on varieties you know you'll have a hard time finding as bedding plants, like golden cherry tomatoes, barely hot salsa peppers, and sweet Asian eggplants.

Trim Liriope

Winter was unkind to good old monkey grass this year, so take the time to remove tattered leaves from your liriope. Use hedge clippers to give small clumps a nice crew cut, or set your mower blade high and mow over ground cover plantings.

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