Coastal and Tropical South

March, 2007
Regional Report

Best beans

It's time to plant beans of all sorts. Green, purple, and yellow bush beans should be seeded 1 inch apart in a row. Plant pole beans and climbing limas around bamboo tepees to save space. Make a note to harvest horticultural and shelley beans while their pods are still soft.

The 3 Cs

Cantaloupes, corn, and cucumbers (except container varieties like 'Bush Slicer') traditionally take up lots of garden space. Plan a corn "corner" at least 4 feet x4 feet, or 4 rows of plants, each a foot apart and 4 feet long. Grow melons and cucumbers up on a trellis for bigger leaves, better air circulation, and cleaner fruit.

Interplant Crops

The winter and spring gardens collide this month. If space is limited, consider gardening in beds rather than rows to gain more square feet to make interplanting possible. By spacing winter crops a bit further apart in a bed, there's room for spring seeds to start small while the older plants mature.

Smaller is Better

Weeding by hand is almost a Zen activity, particularly if you do it often enough. Frequent weeding now helps suppress the worst while they are small and soils are soft. Wear textured gloves, use a pointed tool to make lifting easier, and keep a bucket nearby to collect the what you pull.

Spring Blanket

No matter what else you use for fertilizer, take time now to apply a blanket of compost half an inch deep around shrubs. Established plantings benefit from added organic matter as new growth takes off. Rake off the mulch, add the compost, and replace or add to the mulch.

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