March in the Garden
Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive advice, plants, and organic gardening supplies appropriate to our area and the current season.
Fertilize your lawn
Central Texas lawns need to be fed twice a year, once in spring, and once in fall. There are many good, organic options on the market – look for a solid, slow-release fertilizer with an N-P-K formulation that has a higher amount of nitrogen (N), which is the nutrient that encourages green, leafy development in plants. If you haven’t aerated your lawn within the past 3 to 5 years, then do it this spring. Topdress with compost before or after aerating for maximum benefit. See our complete Lawn Care Guide.
Till in winter cover crops
Allow two weeks for the cover crop to decompose before planting in that area.
Watch out for late cold snaps
Keep your floating row cover nearby and handy in case we have a late cold snap. You can wrap tomato cages or pea trellises, and make tents for squash or melons. Row cover can also help protect new seedlings and little transplants from strong springtime winds. The last average frost date is March 4th, but tomatoes and peppers need protection from the low 50s. Once danger of frost has passed, move citrus trees and other tropicals outside.
Check for aphids on new growth
One surprising solution for aphids is to spray them with fish emulsion. One step stronger would be an insecticidal soap spray. Sometimes even just a hard blast with water will dislodge them but be sure your plant is big enough to withstand it. Whatever method you choose, spray once every 3-5 days until you get control.
Watch for whiteflies and thrips
They’re tiny but their predictable habits make them fairly easy to identify. Whiteflies are easy to spot because they always fly up in a little cloud when their host plant is disturbed. Also, their sticky exudate often causes a sooty black mold to grow on plant leaves. Thrips are harder to see but you might feel ‘em! If you’re in the garden and you’re getting nipped by something that isn’t a mosquito, check the plants around you for thrips. They especially love roses, and because insecticides cannot reach inside the closed buds, all buds should be removed and discarded. If you do find whiteflies or thrips in your garden, spray weekly with horticultural oil for three weeks.
Watch for powdery mildew
Check new foliage on crape myrtles, squash, and roses for powdery mildew. If you find it, spray affected and surrounding leaves with either a natural fungicide, or cow milk (both skim or whole will work). Spray every 5-7 days, and spray again whenever there is a new flush of growth.