Seasonal Tips for Gardening Zones February-March 2002

Carol Mack shares important seasonal tips for gardening zones in New England/Maritime Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Interior, the Gulf Coast, Central/Midwest, North Central and Rockies, Pacific Northwest and the Southwest.


| February/March 2002



Eva Purple Ball is a German heirloom tomato with incredible, old-fashioned flavor.

Eva Purple Ball is a German heirloom tomato with incredible, old-fashioned flavor.


DAVID CAVAGNARO

Learn about current February and March seasonal tips for gardening zones in the U.S.

New England/Maritime Canada Gardening

Seasonal tips for gardening zones. The days grow longer and the sun is slowly warming the ground, sending the first sweet scents of spring into the air. Seed orders are arriving. It's time to sort the onions and make French onion soup with the soft and sprouted ones. Check your garlic, too: Soft cloves can be minced, mixed with olive oil and frozen for future use. In northern areas, start onions, leeks, celery and any slow-growing herbs or flowers, such as petunias and pansies. As the days warm, check for aphids in the greenhouse, especially on overwintered greens, such as kale and spinach. Control with sprays of insecticidal soap, neem or hot pepper wax before introducing tender young seedlings like peppers. Sowings of spinach, cilantro, lettuce and some oriental greens will germinate and begin to grow. Got cabin fever? Plan a community seed-and-seedling swap to share your extras.

Mid-Atlantic Gardening

Now is the time to be sure seeds are at hand and potting soil is ready to use. Indoors, start some lettuce, early brassicas (cabbage, broccoli and relatives), and bulb onions from seed. Follow in mid-February with the main-crop brassicas: peppers, eggplants, lettuce, celery, leeks and a few early tomatoes. In the garden under row covers, make successive plantings of spinach and radishes. Come March add peas, beets and carrots to the successions. Plant potatoes as soon as possible after St. Patrick's Day. As soon as they're in, it's time to start the main crop of tomatoes indoors. "Eva Purple Ball" tomato is highly recommended for disease-resistant, blemish-free fruits with an incredible, old-fashioned flavor. Unfurl your hoses and plan your irrigation; be certain it's all in running order because a dry spring may be right around the corner.

Southern Interior Gardening

The first days of spring are arriving across the South, but don't be fooled. More freezing temperatures can follow those tempting warm days. It's important to wait until after the last hard frost of the season (usually around the end of March) before moving tender seedlings out to the garden. If you must plant them earlier, be sure to use some type of protection, such as Wall O' Water insulating tipis. The careful planning you made in the winter months will pay huge dividends now. It can be tempting to get carried away and plant far more than originally planned. Choose items that grow best in your zone and the space you have available to maximize your enjoyment of your garden. Early-maturing new variety choices to speed up your harvest include "Blue Wonder" snap bean (ready in 55 days) and "Magda" hybrid squash (45 days).

Gulf Coast Gardening

Finish planting cool-season vegetable transplants in early February. Then sit back and catch your breath for a week or two: This is the beginning of warm-season gardening, and one of the busiest times of the Southern garden year. Corn and snap beans can be planted as soon as danger of frost is past; for a continuous harvest, plant beans every two weeks through April. As nights get warmer, transplant tomatoes and other warm-season veggies. Enrich the planting hole with compost for long-term feeding and use manure tea or a liquid fish fertilizer for an immediate boost. Black plastic mulch will warm up the soil and allow earlier planting of heat-loving melons, okra and peppers. Divide perennials in February and prune evergreen shrubs. Wait to prune flowering shrubs until after bloom is finished. Fertilize ornamentals and trees with a compost mulch. Plant palms, tropical fruit and citrus trees in March.

"Eva Purple Ball" is a German heirloom tomato with incredible, old-fashioned flavor. Seeds are available from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.





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