Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2005
Regional Report

Plant Cool-Season Annuals

Most early cool-season annual flowers can be put out in the first couple of weeks in April. This includes snapdragons, sweet peas, lobelia, sweet alyssum, larkspur, stocks, primroses, pansies, and violets. Be sure to harden them off before exposing them to the vagaries of the weather.

Start an Asparagus Bed

If you don't have an asparagus bed, why not? Plant asparagus crowns in early April in a well-prepared bed. Dig the bed about 6 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches wide. Place the crowns and spread the roots. Cover with only 2 inches of soil and add more soil through the summer as they grow.

Nourish Spring Bulbs

As your spring bulbs finish blooming, help get them off to a great start for next year's flowers. You can divide them now if necessary, putting extras in a sunny, well-drained spot. Give them a fertilizer boost by sidedressing with compost, and remember not to cut the leaves off until they turn yellow.

Start Fruit Maintenance Program

Get your fruit tree program set now so you can monitor through the season. Call your local cooperative extension office for full insect prevention programs for apples, pears, plums, and cherries. Remember that prevention is a lot easier than trying to take care of the problem once it appears.

Start Composting!

If you've never composted, this could be the year to give it a try. When cleaning up garden debris this spring, find an out-of-the-way spot for a pile and start a pile, alternating layers of debris with soil. Shred debris to help it decompose faster, and try not to add anything that showed signs of disease last year.

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