Northern & Central Midwest

March, 2013
Regional Report

Check Soil Before Working the Garden

Try the squeeze test before getting out into the garden so you won't risk destroying its natural structure. Gather a handful of soil and squeeze it. If it sticks together when you poke it, wait a week and try again. If it breaks apart when you poke it, grab your spade!

Clean Up Flower Beds

Remove dead foliage and weeds in perennial and annual beds. You can pull back the mulch around crowns, but be ready to pull it back in case of an imminent hard freeze. Gently push any heaved plants back in the ground and firm the soil -- don't step on them to push them back into the soil.

Plant Onions

Plant onion sets or plants in pots now for the earliest of scallions. Water in well and put on a sunny windowsill until the snow goes away and the garden soil is dry enough to be worked. Then move them outdoors to continue growing.

Pot Up Summer Bulbs

The earlier you get summer bulbs started, the better a chance you will have for bloom. Pot up caladiums, begonias, cannas, elephant ears, agapanthus, and calla lilies in sterile potting soil in a pot with drainage. Water with warm water and place on a bright windowsill until after frost danger is past.

Remove Iris Foliage

If you haven't yet removed your iris foliage, do this any time you have a reasonable day to get outside. Removing every shred of foliage now will take the eggs of iris borer with it and leave your irises clean for the season.

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