Western Mountains and High Plains

March, 2013
Regional Report

Get Ready for Planting

As the soil begins to thaw and dry out, get out there and work in some compost. If you already added compost in the fall, work the soil with a spading fork or roto-tiller. Work your soil to a depth of 6 inches or more to encourage plants to form deep, drought-enduring root systems.

Prune Ornamental Grass Clumps

If you haven't cut back those perennial grasses, get to it. This will encourage new, healthy growth and you won't inadvertently chop off the new growth as it begins to emerge. Lightly cultivate around the plants and work in a complete, organically-based 10-10-10 fertilizer.

Make Trellises for Peas

Now is the time to make supports or trellises for sweet peas or garden peas. They are easy to make with chicken wire or bamboo stakes. Be sure to anchor the ends in the ground to a depth of 8 inches or more.

Grow Your Own Potatoes

If the soil is not too wet, now is the time to plant certified disease-free potato eyes. If you haven't tried planting potatoes in a bed of straw, give it a try. Dig a trench 6 inches deep and line it with straw. Set potato pieces onto the straw and cover lightly. As the sprouts grow, add more straw until the trench is filled to soil level.

Inspect for Early Signs of Insect Pests

As the leaves emerge on shrubs and trees, look for signs of insect eggs hatching or young hatchlings. Get them while they are young with a spray of water or homemade soap spray, and it will mean less damage later on.

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