Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gardening Class Tonight!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trish's March Suggestions

(alphabetical by type)


If it looks pretty in the garden beds of subdivisions now, then don’t buy any! It is time to start planning for warm season flowers. If you buy a beautiful flowering cool-season plant now, it will be to add short-lived color, but it will be dead in another six weeks. Make room now for your warm-season annuals. Till up a bed for some summer flowers and spend under $5 for seeds for an inexpensive color burst. It is time to keep an eye on the winter growing annuals. They will begin to decline now that the weather is warming and the days are lengthening. It’s a good time to start saving seed for next fall.

Plant and sow now: Cosmos, Firewheel (Indian Blanket Flower), Hollyhocks, Mexican Sunflower, Morning Glory (careful, careful… they take over. Many varieties are actually illegal in AZ), Nasturtium, Portulaca, Sunflower, Zinnias

Bulbs, Corms, Rhizomes, & Tubers

It is time to fertilize bulbs that have been underground. Trim your cannas for more beautiful growth and less bug infestation. HINT: I plant my bulbs half to two-thirds as deep as recommended by the grower. Most don’t need to go lower than that because our winters aren’t harsh.

Plant: Amaryllis, Caladium (lots of shade), Calla, Crape Flower, Crinum, Gladiolus, Manfreda, Rain Lily, Spider Lily

Cacti and Succulents

It’s time to look for a spot to plant some Agave. They need some afternoon shade, especially when they are young and tender and will eventually be able to be moved somewhere with full sun as they mature, if desired. It is also time to trim back chollla and prickly pear.


If this the year that you want to add some citrus trees to the yard, this is the very best time to plant them! So go get yourself a grapefruit tree for some nice spring breakfasts and an Arizona Orange for wonderful late winter snacking when you need your vitamin C the most!

Did you plant strawberries? They need moist soil to grow well and produce good fruit. Mulch them well to keep evaporation to a minimum. They are called STRAW berries because early farmers would place straw beneath the plants to prevent rotting as the berries touched the ground. Farmers still do it, we can do it too. It’s cheap, lightweight and easy. Anyone want to go in with me and buy a bail?!


For all you “dirt yard” owners, this is the time to get ready to plant your lawn. Next month is really the time to seed, but if you trench for irrigation and level your soil and prepare now, you will be the first to lay seed and have a green lawn for spring and summer! So choose your variety and get a move on! For a great education on the different varieties that grow here, visit the ASU Cooperative Extension Office on Broadway in Phoenix where you can view side by side 8 different varieties growing together!


Trim up your vines this month to keep them in control. This includes lantana and bougainvillea.

Time to plant and sow: bee balm, blackfoot daisies, blanket flower, chrysanthemum, daylily, delphinium, four o’clocks (sow these, they don’t transplant), lantana, penstemon, salvia, Shasta daisies, statice


It is too late to plant bareroot roses, it is time to buy potted. Remove spent blooms to encourage new buds. It’s a good time to fertilize, too. I go to Starbucks and ask for Ground for Gardeners. They are always happy to give me (for free) the used grounds from the day! These make great fertilizer for Roses, Azeleas, Camelias, and all of the acid loving flowers that grow in Georgia! Toward mid-late month, you will begin to see aphids. When you do, call your local garden center and see if they have received their lady bugs yet! Get the kids and release a few caterpillars a day (if you release them all at once, you will be giving them for free to the neighborhood.) They don’t like to be crowded by others of their kind.
Skipping Shrubs and Trees for the sake of time… email me if you have questions.

Veggies and Herbs

Keeping it short, I will say… it is still time to plant. Keep caring for plants you planted in February and keep the weeds out of the garden beds. J You can begin now to take cuttings on your herbs for use in dishes or to dry for later. Divide your oregano, mints and lemon grass.

Sow: amaranth, artichoke, asparagus, beans, beets, black-eyed peas, bulb onions, bunching onions, bush beans, carrots, celery, chard, collards, cucumbers, endive, gourds, jicama, lima beans, melons (yes, all kinds), mustard greens, okra, parsley, peas, peanuts (late in March), pumpkins, radish, rutabaga, spinach, summer squash, sweet corn, turnips, watermelons

Transplant: Tomatoes and peppers.

Sow Herbs: basil, bay, calendula, chives, Cuban oregano, epazote, lemon grass, lemon verbena, marjoram, Mexican mint marigold, Mexican oregano, parsley, peppermint, sesame, spearmint.

March Newsletter

Hey, Gardeners!

First I want to apologize for not getting this out sooner. I could list my 55 excuses why it didn’t make it out on March 1st (or 2nd, or 3rd or… ) , but is suffices for me to say, “I am a Mom, Wife, Friend, Daughter, and Sister first.” Yes, I am barely an excuse for a gardener at this point. J Actually, I did get some of my own garden sown and planted, ripped out 14 giant black garbage bags of weeds, grass and dead growth, trimmed up the koi pond and managed to bring my lawn back from the dead. But, I still haven’t spent enough (not sure there is such a thing) time in the garden.

I mentioned last month that I had some words for you about bugs. Honestly, I could write about bugs until my fingertips were sore. Until I became a gardener, they weren’t all that important to me. I considered them gross and creepy. Now (for the most part) they are my friends! Most bugs in the garden are beneficial. I would say 95%. If you have grubs, white flies, spider mites, aphids, grasshoppers, or anything resembling a caterpillar then you don’t want it. Pretty much everybuggy else is a blessing to your garden. Keep an eye on my blog for photos I have taken of beneficial insects in my own garden. (Much better quality photos than the pics below). For loads of information on beneficial insects, visit this link:

I stole the above photo from
My recommendation for pest control is self control. At least I say that now. I imagine that this will be the year of the grasshopper and the year of the mosquito with all of the extra rain we have had here in the dessert. So, 6 weeks from now you may get an email from me that screams, “DIE APHIDS, DIE!!!!” But in most years and under normal circumstances, bugs take care of themselves. Even this wet year, I imagine that this will be so. Remember, a good year for mosquito larvae will end up being a good year for lacewing eggs and so forth. But mark my words, it will be the year of the bugs!! The aphids roam in and then the ladybugs and lacewings follow to eat and parasite the aphids. The caterpillars hatch and the assassin bugs attack. The trouble with chemicalizing the garden is two fold: 1. You are applying poison to the foods you will eat or the flowers your children will inevitably pick. And 2. Said poison is indiscriminating. It will kill the aphids, but it will also kill the ladybugs that kill the aphids. It will get rid of the caterpillars, but then it will kill the hoover flies and bumblebees that pollinate your flowers eventually preventing growth and production. Without pollination in the garden, you get nothing, nada, zilch.

Well, it is time for me to get into what to do and plant this month. Hope you all keep gardening. I will send out an email this weekend linking to my new garden blog after I get all of the picture uploaded to it. So far it is just drafts.

Hands dirty,