Mid-Atlantic

March, 2004
Regional Report

Cut Ornamental Grasses

Cut back ornamental grasses before the daffodils bloom. Cut as close to the ground as you can reasonably manage without damaging new growth coming up through the old. To make a large clump manageable, I bind the top with elastic cords and use an electric hedge trimmer to cut across the base.

Test Your Soil

If you have not run soil tests in the past few years, this is the time to do so. You need the test results to know if your lawn and planting beds need lime and how much. Testing helps avoid wasteful overuse and assures that you are not underapplying, either.

Leach Salt

Plantings that have been hit with road salt spray may be suffering from salt build-up on their foliage and in the soil. To counter the salt, rinse the foliage clean with plain water and soak the root area with fresh water to leach it. Consider erecting a protective fence or barricade to deflect the spray next winter.

Plant Early Veggies

Once the soil is workable (no longer frozen, not overly muddy from snowmelt or rain) you can begin planting the earliest vegetables, such as onions, potatoes, peas, spinach, beets, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, and lettuce.

Consider Wide Beds

Vegetables can be grown in traditional rows with paths in between, or they can be grown in a wider bed with a perimeter path to conserve garden space. The bed may be raised if desired. Plant an area twice as wide as you can reach and as long as you wish with the vegetable of your choice, maintaining recommended spacing between the plants.

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