The Press Newspaper
Spice up gardens with new flower, vegetable varieties this year
March weather is typically unpredictable. One day can have cold, blowing winds with mixes of sleet or snow while the very next day can sparkle with sunshine and mild, spring-like breezes.
It almost seems like a seasonal struggle goes on this month between the cold, waning forces of winter and the warm advance of an oncoming spring. Though its allotted time is soon to be over, winter seems determined to prolong its stay as long as it can.
Thankfully, the gentle forces of warmer weather are destined to prevail. In March, the stoic bulbs and, soon-to-be emerging perennials in our gardens and yards hold their own in spite of the warring weather. They seem to know that their time of flowering and robust growth is just ahead. As moody as the weather is now, spring will soon be here and the garden planning that we do now will ensure that we are ready for the gardening season just ahead.
Officially, winter is about over and somehow the mixture of warm weather, sunshine, and bird song ahead really stirs up the green thumb in many of us.
If you’ve never gardened or haven’t cracked a hoe or wielded a trowel in a while, why not consider growing some flowers or vegetables this year? Try a variety of growing methods in your garden or yard. Grow some things from seed.
Zinnias, marigolds and sunflowers are easily grown and do not have special requirements other than adequate sunshine, water, and decent soil. Radishes, spinach and green beans are also easily grown and do not require a lot of space.
Along with your seed plants, put in some transplants for immediate colorful beauty. Also, try some summer blooming corms and tubers for later flowering and foliage. Gladiolas along the back of a flower bed will add spiky height and color to your garden in mid-summer. Dahlias are actually easy to grow and offer lots of variety in size and hue, and caladiums are wonderful for splashes of leafy color in shady spots.
If you’re an established gardener, you’ve probably been poring over your garden catalogs, which I believe come earlier every year. My first 2014 garden catalog arrived in November 2013, and Thanksgiving Eve found me drooling over the newly-offered varieties of flowers and vegetables.
Now that many more catalogs have come in, I’ve found even more splendid plants that are whetting my gardening appetite. Some of these include “Pink Poodle” coneflower, a fully double bright pink perennial; “Love’s Magic,” a re-blooming, double daylily; and “Cheddar Hybrid,” a cauliflower variety that is chock full of beta-carotene.
Be sure and check out the “Indigo Series” hybrid tomatoes, which are a blue variety very high in anthocyanin, which is the antioxidant found in blueberries. There are several different types of tomatoes in this series (find more information on these at www.jungseed.com).
There are so many exciting new flower and vegetable varieties this year that can be seen in the 2014 garden catalogs or on websites such as www.all-americaselections.org, that any gardener can find something new and different to grow. Check them out and try some in your flower beds or gardens this growing season.
The America’s Garden Almanac is predicting a cool, wet spring this year with a last frost date of May 15. Cooler temperatures may mean planting tender crops a bit later than usual but most plants appreciate adequate moisture. Whatever the conditions, spring and milder conditions will be most welcome after this very cold, very snowy, severe winter.
March garden tip: This is a good time to begin cleaning dead foliage, leaves, dead branches, etc. out of your gardens and beds, but try to avoid walking on the bare, wet soil in your beds as this will compact the soil. Prune off any dead or damaged branches on trees or shrubs now before new growth begins in the spring.
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