Mid-Atlantic

March, 2005
Regional Report

Transplant Wayward Bulbs

Most spring bulbs can be successfully transplanted to more suitable locations. Dig carefully, taking the roots growing down below the bulb and a nice chunk of soil, and replant immediately at the same depth or a little deeper. Then water to settle the soil. Do not cut back the foliage until it's dry and brown.

Control Crabgrass

Corn gluten can be used to control annual crabgrass. It stops the seeds from growing, so you must apply it before the seeds germinate. A rule of thumb is to apply pre-emergent crabgrass control about the same time the yellow forsythia bushes bloom in your neighborhood.

Test Soil

It's a good idea to run basic soil tests every few years to check pH and fertility levels, and use the results -- instead of guessword -- to help you amend the soil. Lime, for instance, is used on acidic soil to raise the pH. It works its way through the soil slowly over time and may need to be reapplied.

Condition Seedlings

Your seedlings and transplants will need to be hardened off or gradually acclimated to the vagaries of frost, wind, rain, and full sun prior to planting in the garden. One method is to shelter them in an unheated cold frame where you can adjust the protective cover as needed for a week or two to gradually expose the transplants to outdoor temperatures and wind.

Plant Early Crops

Some planting can be done prior to the last frost. Broccoli transplants can go out a month before the last frost. Potatoes, snow peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, green onions, and spinach also tolerate cold soil and chilly temperatures, but hold off on tomatoes, peppers, cukes, melons, and squash.

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