Upper South

March, 2001
Regional Report

Keep Records


A garden record book doesn't have to be fancy. A three-ring binder and some lined paper will serve quite adequately. Record the source of seed and transplants for each variety and the date you plant them. As the season goes on, record the time of bloom or harvest and fun dates such as when you see the first robin.

Plant Sweet Peas

Plant sweet peas any time now, as long as the soil is dry enough. Sow them 2 inches deep in trenches and fill in the trenches gradually as the plants grow; keep plants well-watered. Consider growing heirloom varieties, many of which have a strong fragrance. \'Cupani\', named for the Italian monk who discovered wild sweet peas in Sicily, was introduced in 1699; the intensely scented flowers are deep maroon and violet.

Fertilize and Weed Perennials


Perennials benefit from an early feeding of a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as 6-24-24. Use about 4 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet and broadcast it among the plants. This is also a good time to pull any early weeds, such as wild onion and chickweed. Ornamental grasses left standing for the winter can be cut back now.

Add Lime


At least every couple of years, test the soil around your yard for pH, using one of the inexpensive kits available. If the pH is below 6.0, you should add lime. It's best to use agricultural lime, rather than hydrated lime. A general recommended rate is about 5 pounds per 100 square feet.

Prune Berries and Grapes


Prune currants and gooseberries now, cutting the oldest wood away along with any damaged branches. This is your last chance to prune grapes. When pruning grapes this late in the year, don't panic when the sap runs wildly. It's not desirable, but it's also not fatal.

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