Garden Calendar March 2017





Purple Basil




It’s time to get your garden ready for the burst of spring growth.

Plant color annuals after mid-month such as zinnia, periwinkle, globe amaranth, verbena and portulaca.
Sow seeds for warm-season vegetables: okra, melon, squash, corn and cucumbers.
Plant desert-adapted trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, cacti and succulents.
Plant container-grown roses and citrus.

Apply nitrogen to fruit trees when buds begin to swell.
Add compost and well-composted manure to vegetable beds.
Give established plants a dose of balanced organic fertilizer.
Fertilize roses every six weeks to prepare for spring bloom.
Fertilize established fig trees now.

Transplant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and globe artichokes.
Propagate from existing succulent cuttings.
Divide and plant agave, yucca and aloe offshoots.
Set out strawberries, which grow best
in raised beds to help prevent salt
Transplant basil, chamomile, chives, epazote, feverfew, lavender, oregano, lemon grass, rosemary, sage and santolina.

As temperatures warm adjust drip-irrigation systems to accommodate new plants.
Water citrus every 10-14 days.
Watch container plantings for drying out in March winds.

Deadhead the last of the winter
Prune off frost-damaged foliage from bougainvillea, dalea, hibiscus, lantana, oleander and other tender shrubs.
Prune perennial herbs by one-third after mid-March.
Prune Texas Ranger, red bird of paradise, mountain marigold and chuparosa to encourage new growth.
Cut back ornamental grasses to the ground.
Remove side-buds on hybrid roses and center buds on floribundas to promote larger flowers.

When your herb garden is at its best this spring, create an herbal wreath for a centerpiece or hang it in the kitchen for culinary use. You will need a sturdy wire or grapevine wreath (12 inches in diameter). Begin with a base layer of an herb such as rosemary, which dries well and has a nice aroma. Trim stems to make small bunches. Cut a 9- to 12-inch length of wire and wrap stems four or five times until snug. Trim the ends. Layer the small bunches onto paddle wire, securing them by wrapping wire near the base until the entire circle is covered.  Repeat the process using small bunches of other herbs such as lavender, sage, oregano and thyme. (Note: soft-stemmed herbs like mint or parsley will wilt quickly.) For color and texture try adding lamb’s ear, yarrow or small red peppers. Assemble as many bunches as will go around the wreath. Cover all of the stem ends. HG