Mid-Atlantic

March, 2004
Regional Report

Uncover Strawberries

As soon as strawberry plants begin to grow, pull aside their winter mulch so they receive sunshine and fresh air, but be prepared to protect the flower buds on frosty nights by recovering them with either a fluffy mulch, such as straw, or with the fabric row covers called frost blankets that are sold for this purpose.

Prune Grapes

Prune grapevines hard now. Prune to develop a main trunk with several strong side branches. Cut back severely, leaving just a few buds on each. This will encourage vigorous new growth and heavier fruiting while helping to control the vine's size. Clean up and remove all prunings to reduce the chances of carrying over pest or disease problems.

Clean Flower Pots

Clean out flower pots you plan to reuse this season. Scrape off loose dirt, scrub with a stiff brush to remove mineral deposits, and soak in a solution of bleach and water to sanitize. Air dry and store in a clean, dry area until ready to use. Remember to soak unsealed terra cotta pots in water to rehydrate them just prior to planting up.

Prune Raspberries

Prune back and thin out raspberries before they start growing. Remove the old fruiting canes from last year if you did not do so last fall. Also cut out the thinnest and weak canes, and take out broken or diseased canes. Clean up and remove the prunings along with any remaining foliage or old mummified fruits.

Tend Asparagus and Rhubarb

Remove old asparagus and rhubarb tops if you did not do so last fall. Top-dress these nutrient-loving perennials with well-rotted manure and compost and/or a complete granular fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. This would also be the time to plant (or divide) asparagus and rhubarb.

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