Four more days to spring! If the rain doesn’t get us this is a great weekend to be in the garden. So much to see and do.
If the rain kept you from planting last week you still have plenty of time. As you decide what to plant where consider doing a little crop rotation. Tomatoes and cucumbers are heavy feeders. As such, you should periodically change where you grow them in the garden (this will also help with several pest problems). When moving some of these heavy feeders replant their old rows with beans or southern peas. These plants are legumes and they have the ability to trap airborne nitrogen and convert it to a readily available soil born nitrogen. Just FYI, do not plant tomatoes in the same location for more than three years. If you do you greatly increase your chance of contracting all of those diseases listed on the seed packets – V, F, FF, N, T, A, St.
This is a very good weekend to plant tomato and eggplant transplants. Side dress your plants with blood meal or fish meal for a quick shot of nitrogen that will help stimulate leaf production. The recommended rate is one cup per five feet of row.
Right now I have more larkspur and poppies coming up than I know what to do with. Thin these plants to about a foot apart. They will bloom quicker, get bigger, last longer and be resistant to several pests.
Except for my luecojum, all of the blooms have now faded from my spring blooming bulbs. Allow the clumps of foliage that are left after the bloom to stay intact until it begins to naturally brown. This foliage is what feeds the bulbs so they will be full of the carbs needed to bloom again next spring.
Speaking of bulbs, now is a great time to divide your spider lilies and oxbloods. Once you dig them you can divide and immediately replant or you can let them dry out and keep them in the garage until later in the year.
One of my favorite color plants is Shell Ginger. This is a good time to plant it and all other gingers in the Zone 9 garden.
Trees and Shrubs
Now is a great time to plant many ornamental trees and shrubs. Some of my favorites are Vitex, Eve’s Necklace, Texas Mountain Laurel, Southern Wax Myrtle, Loropetalum, yaupon and dwarf yaupon. Plant these perinnials in a hole that is no deeper than the soil in the pot and about one and a half times as wide. Do not fertilize. Water consistently until fully established.
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