Temperatures are beginning to rise and the spring season is among us! Now is the perfect time to get your garden growing. Be sure to check these items off your to-do list this month!
Prepare Soil for Spring Planting
- Clean up the garden by removing any debris, dead leaves, and plant material that has accumulated over the winter months.
- Check the soil composition in your garden — it’s not wise to garden in caliche. If you have an impermeable layer near the surface, build a raised bed.
- Add a layer of organic matter to improve soil structure and fertility. For more information on improving soil structure and fertility, check out The Ultimate Guide to Improving Desert Soils.
Plant, plant, plant!
Start Your Edible Garden with Veggies and Herbs
In the Southwest, many tasty crops can be produced with only a little preparation and planning. To get started with veggies, check out Star Note #205 – Warm Weather Vegetable Gardening.
Herbs are grown and used for many reasons. Culinary varieties add zest and flavor to hundreds of dishes. Medicinal herbs may play a role in the prevention and treatment of some diseases. Nearly all bring fragrance and beauty to the home and garden. From the cooking pot to the medicine chest, herbs are good for everyone! For more information on growing herbs and specific varieties, check out Star Note #215 – Growing Herbs in the Desert.
Plant Tomatoes for a Continuous Supply
March is the perfect time to plant tomatoes for a continuous supply in the coming months. Plant a variety of tomatoes like Early Girl, Patio, Cherry, Roma, Celebrity, Heatwave, and Better Boy. An early start is greatly encouraged to yield a good crop, as many varieties will not set fruit in the heat of the summer. For more information on growing tomatoes, read our guide on Easy-To-Grow Tomatoes for High-Yielding Results.
The last spring frost date for the Southwest is March 19th. After this date, cactus, succulents, citrus, and tropical plants* can safely be planted outdoors. For more information on planting, check out Star Note #001 – Planting Guide.
Now is also when you can safely prune these varieties that have experienced cold or frost damage. To learn more about pruning, check out Star Note #105 – The Principles of Pruning.
*Speak with a Star Nursery Certified Nurseryman for specific information on planting and caring for tropical plants.
Thin Fruit Trees to Ensure a Bountiful Harvest
Don’t neglect thinning your fruit trees, especially apples, apricots, peaches, and pears! Thinning to one fruit every 4-6 inches ensures there will be enough space for the fruit to grow to full size and prevents limbs from breaking due to heavy fruit load.
- Wait until the fruit is about the size of a nickel before thinning.
- Select the fruit to remove by looking for any fruit that is damaged, misshapen, or smaller than the others. These fruits are unlikely to develop properly.
- Use pruning shears to remove the selected fruit. Be careful not to damage the remaining fruit or branches.
- Leave 4-6 inches of space between fruits to allow them to develop fully.
- Remove any shoots or branches that are growing from the base of the tree, as these can compete with the fruit for nutrients and sunlight.
Follow Watering Guidelines
Be sure to check your watering clock and make sure it is programmed correctly! The best time to water is early in the morning, about an hour before sunrise. It is not recommended to water at night, as it can encourage fungus. The Southern Nevada Water Authority’s spring watering guidelines allow gardeners to water three days a week starting March 1st. To find your watering days, visit the SNWA website!
Control Weeds with Preemergent and Herbicide
Though natural, weeds can rob your preferred plants of water and nutrients. To avoid this issue, use preemergent herbicides to prevent weeds from growing in your flower beds, planters, and rock landscapes. If you already have weeds, use contact or translocator herbicides to kill them before they spread any further. For more information on a preemergent or herbicide that is right for your garden, stop by your favorite Star Nursery location and speak with one of our experts!
By following these simples steps, you can ensure that your garden thrives during the spring months. With the right preparation, you’ll be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits while watching your landscape accents bloom throughout the season!
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