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March, for me, is a month for garden preparation. I feed my soil with compost and fertilize my plants with organics like alfalfa pellets, bone meal, blood meal, Epsom salts, and anything else I have lying around from the previous year. I put it all together in my wagon, mix it up and portion it out to the roses, citrus, gardenias (which I treat as roses) and my two apple trees, two cherry trees and one nectarine tree.
March is also a good month to get ahead of plant predators and diseases so using insecticidal soap and Neem Oil on my roses and the trees, sprinkling snail bait around the garden beds and putting out mouse and/or rat bait will help keep pests at bay.
If you are looking after the birds in your yard like I am, my bird expert friend, Ben Zlotnick, of Old Ben’s Workshop, says that non-migratory birds need seed during the winter months because the spiders and insects they feed on during the spring and summer have either died or are hibernating. The seed that will attract the greatest variety of birds is black oil sunflower seed. BTW, as cats are a bird’s worst enemy, putting a bell on your cat, if you have one, will give the birds in your yard a fighting chance.
I still have bulbs to plant, which will go in as soon as possible and I’ll be starting summer vegetable seeds during March. It is still too early, though, to put in summer vegetable transplants as they’ll probably just sulk until May when it really starts to warm up.
Cool season vegetables and lettuces may still be planted as San Diego tends to be relatively cool and cloudy in the spring.
Stevie Hall is President of Gardeners 92130, a 501(c)(3) non-profit garden club affiliated with California Garden Clubs, Inc. “I am a California native, born in Santa Monica. My husband, Ned Hall, and I moved back to California from Connecticut in 1987, living first in Rancho Santa Fe, then Solana Beach and, in 2000, moved to the St. Augustine section of Torrey Hills. My very first interest in having a garden and my very first garden was when we moved to our home in Torrey Hills. Along the way I’ve become a certified consulting Rosarian and belong to three rose societies. My rose obsession began to wane a few years ago as I’ve become more and more interested in growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and now succulents. I am an obsessive reader and whenever a new gardening idea begins to beckon me, I head to the (Solana Beach) library for whatever books they have on the subject. I am eager for every growing season. The thing about a garden is that plants just want to grow and if they get the food and water they need, the possibilities are infinite. Just thinking about it makes me want to get outside and get my hands in the dirt.”