Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2014
Regional Report

Cultivate Pansies

Pansies love to have the soil cultivated around their roots. After removing the faded flowers from the plants, use a cultivating tool to break open the surface of the soil so that water, air, and nutrients can penetrate to the roots. Your plants will be healthier and produce more flowers for a longer period if groomed in this manner.

Protect Early Planted Impatiens

If you are impatient to get your impatiens in the ground, make sure they are protected from late-season frosts. Amend the soil prior to planting with organic compost, and please, never plant in dry soil.

Fertilize Lawns

Give lawns a wake-up call by applying fertilizer now. Fertilizer high in nitrogen will promote lush new growth, but it also may encourage some fungus diseases. Mow prior to applying fertilizer, and water immediately after application. Don't forget to sweep walks and driveways afterwards to prevent fertilizer stains.

Improve Your Soil

Before you plant, improve existing soil by adding organic compost, manure, peat moss, or soil conditioners. It's a good idea to continue to improve your soil every time you change a garden bed, especially in vegetable gardens or annual flower beds, where the soil becomes exhausted from continuous planting. Soil texture is as important as nutrient values, so if your soil is heavy clay, add sand and organic compost to eliminate compaction. Great gardens come from the ground up!

Fertilize Indoor Plants

Longer days are triggering your indoor plants into action. Apply fertilizer at half the recommended strength to provide the nutrients necessary for growth without shocking them. I use fish emulsion on my indoor plants, but you may not like the odor in your own home.

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