by Donna Hagar, Somervell County Master Gardener
We’ve had quite an interesting “sorta” winter. The mild temperatures and abundant rains have brought on excitement for the Spring garden as well as a plethora of weeds to add to the chore list.
If you haven’t yet set out tomato plants, now is the time to get them in! Be prepared to cover if we do get a goofy late freeze! Use tomato cages to help support the plants as they grow. Be sure to wrap them with some sort of wind break (row cover fabric or bottomless buckets work great) until the plants are at least a couple feet tall and can withstand high winds. Pepper plants can go in mid-month, too, as well as most herbs (wait another month for basil).
Most squash seeds can be sown directly in the garden now, as well as beans, peas and radishes. Late in the month, sow seeds of melons, okra and cucumbers.
Annual flowering plants can go in now. Consider planting flowering plants among the vegetables such as nasturtiums, marigolds and various herbs. Many help repel unwanted pests! (but that’s an entirely new article!)
Don’t forget to mulch, mulch, mulch!! A several inch-thick layer will help keep those pesky weeds from taking over your newly planted veggie garden. Be sure not to mulch where you have sown seeds until seedlings have several new leaves and are several inches tall.
Local nurseries are getting in great looking landscape plants and plant sales will be popping up in the area this month as well. This might be a great time to spruce up the landscape or just make some desired changes. Container plants of all kinds can go in now but don’t wait too much longer. You want to get these in before the heat of the summer hits so they are well established and able to tolerate the potential hot/dry days. Again, heavy mulching will go a long way to help retain moisture and keep roots cool on the scorching days.
If you haven’t done spring maintenance on your lawn equipment, you had better get to it! These warm temperatures mean grass will be growing quickly. If you are like me, you’ve already had to mow the weeds!
Prune trees and shrubs (except live oaks) but make sure to wait for spring blooming shrubs and vines to finish blooming before reshaping.