Upper South

March, 2012
Regional Report

Try a More Natural Approach to Lawn Care

To get the best lawn for the least amount of time, effort, and money as well as the least harmful effect to the environment, consider these ideas. Fertilize in the spring and fall with an organic or organic-based fertilizer that does not contain phosphorus. To inhibit annual weed growth, consider using a natural pre-emergent herbicide based on corn gluten. Finally, set your mower height to 3 to 4 inches, as this will encourage healthier grass.

Achieve Success with Daffodil Bouquets

Nothing beats the cheerfulness of a bouquet of daffodils. Use them liberally throughout the house these weeks in spring when they're in bloom. Just don't plan on combining them with other spring-blooming flowers without pre-conditioning them, as the daffodil stems exude a substance that will cause other flowers to wilt prematurely. To pre-condition, place the daffodils in a container of water for at least six hours before you use them in combination arrangements. Do not re-cut them when arranging them. An alternative is to simply make bouquets with other flowers separately, then combine these with vases just of daffodils.

Start an Asparagus Bed

Asparagus may demand a high price at the grocery or farmers market, but it is not that difficult to grow your own. Asparagus is a long-lived crop thriving in both full sun or partial shade, so the initial work of preparing the soil well will yield long-term dividends. For the best production, choose crowns of one of the newer hybrid varieties that have improved vigor, yield, and disease resistance. Plan for 10 to 20 plants per person.

Consider a Diversity of Peas

Because peas start losing their sweetness soon after harvest, only home-grown peas can truly satisfy. Traditional garden peas, with the sweet, round morsels inside inedible pods are not the only possibility for a tasty spring crop. Be sure to also grow snow peas, with tender, flavorful pods and snap peas, which combine edible pods and peas. Plus, you can eat the tendrils and young growth of pea plants. Pea varieties also range in size from less than a foot tall to over 8 feet. For varieties that grow over 2 feet tall, some type of support system is needed.

Make Plans for Spring-Flowering Bulbs Next Year

Take time this spring to evaluate your spring-bulb planting. Consider where would you like to add more to your garden and what kinds. One problem in adding bulbs to your garden is that by the time fall rolls around, you might not be sure where the ones are that you already have as the foliage will be long gone by then. One way is to draw a map of your different garden areas and the bulbs in them. Another way is to take photos of the areas. A combination of the two will help ensure that you don't accidentally dig up already planted bulbs this fall.

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