MARCH GARDENING TIPS

  Prepare beds for planting warm-season flowers and vegetables.  Incorporate a two to three inch layer of organic material such as compost, per hundred square feet of bed area.  Peat moss, although commonly recommended as a soil amendment for other areas, is not good to use here in the desert southwest.  If exposed to the air, peat moss will serve as a wick, thus removing moisture from the soil—the exact opposite of the situation you are trying to create.  

Beware of closeout sales on bare-root trees and shrubs. The chance of survival is rather low on bare-root plants this late in the season. Best bets for now are container-grown or balled-and-burlapped plants.

Remove weeds from lawns or apply a pre-emergent weed killer.  However, be aware that many trees and shrubs are damaged or killed each year by the careless application of weed killers, including those found in fertilizer/herbicide combinations (“weed and feed” chemicals).  Always read and follow label directions very carefully. 

Freeze-damaged plants should be sheared back just as new growth begins to show (shear off only those parts that are damaged). 

Fertilize trees and shrubs with slow-release or organic fertilizers.

Sow seeds of warm season vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, indoors in trays.  Make sure that the seedlings receive plenty of sunlight.  You may place the seed trays on a sunny porch during the day, but always remember to bring them inside in the evening.  Keep the seedlings well watered but not soggy.