Home Gardener’s Newsletter
March & April 2016
- March & April Gardening Tips
- Fixing Our Lawns
- It’s Time to Plant a Tree!
- Overwintering Monarch
Counts Are Up
- Plant a Pizza Garden!
April 9, 10am
March & April Gardening Tips
- It’s Spring Planting Time! Now is the time to start planting both ornamental and food plants to create a more beautiful and productive yard. Come in and see all the flowers and other plants we have!
- It’s a great time to plant vegetables, herbs, berries, and other plants that produce healthy and tasty foods. Come in and pick out your all-time favorites, plus some new varieties to try. We have an excellent collection of selected varieties that do well in our area. These are soooo good when you harvest them fresh!
- Give your yard a finished look by mulching around new plantings. It makes all the difference in the world, plus it reduces weed problems and helps keep the soil moist.
- Release some of our ladybugs (arriving soon) to help control pests safely and naturally. Read the label directions to improve results. If you have serious pest problems, you’ll need one of our sprays to provide immediate control. We have some excellent organic sprays that take care of most pest problems.
- Start a garden journal if you aren’t already keeping one. It will become an invaluable source of information, and it can be as simple as a Word document. Write down what varieties you plant (they are too-easily forgotten), what plants do especially well together, blooming times, and other discoveries you make.
Fixing Our Lawns
Many people completely stopped watering their lawns last year. What has
come up from the rains is a hodgepodge of the original grass you had, plus weedy grass species (these are often a much lighter shade of green if you were growing the darker green fescues), plus broadleaf weeds like dandelions and many others. What to do now? Kill broadleaf weeds, before they spread, with our powerful Monterey Spurge Power.
What about the weed grasses? If there are big areas of grassy weeds and no good grass, you will need to reseed or resod your entire lawn. The problem with grassy weeds is they often are a different shade of green than the good
grass, and some are grasses that are annuals and they die by summertime. Also, they often don’t have as deep a root system, so they are not as drought tolerant as grasses you plant.
Apply our Signature product to prevent weedy grasses from germinating, and to fertilize your lawn at the same time. This may be a good opportunity to shrink the size of your lawn to reduce your overall water usage. You can replant sections with plants that require less water. In some cases you will need to modify your sprinkler system, so you can reduce the amount of water in the new sections. If you can’t do that, you might as well just keep your entire lawn.
It’s Time to Plant a Tree!
This is a great time to plant a tree! Here are two very wise proverbs about planting trees (and they have something to say about life as well):
A Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
A Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Overwintering Monarch Counts Are Up
Good news—the counts are finally in, and populations of western Monarch butterflies that overwintered in California, mostly in coastal areas, are the highest they’ve been in a decade. They are still lower than the huge numbers recorded in the 1990’s, but the trend is in a positive direction.
In the mountains of central Mexico, where Monarchs from east of the Rockies spend their winters, the estimated numbers increased 4 fold over last year. An estimated 150 million Monarchs were overwintering there, compared to only 42 million in 2014, the lowest number ever recorded.
Every gardener can be involved in helping Monarchs and other pollinators in our own yards by planting more flowering plants that provide life-sustaining nectar for the adults. Planting plants for caterpillars to feed on is also important. For Monarchs, the caterpillars feed exclusively on about 30 species of milkweed (Asclepias), including the beautiful butterfly weed, and many native
Plant a Pizza Garden!
“What is a pizza garden?” you ask? It is a fun project for families to plant, look at, and eat! Picture a circular area (about 8 feet in diameter) with 6-8 “slices”—each featuring a topping for your delicious homemade pizza. Here’s how:
In an area that receives full sun, divide your circle into triangular slices with edging, bricks, or wooden dividers. String attached to stakes can also be used.
Start with tomato plants—about four or five will do. With their sweet taste and pasty consistency, Romas are a favorite choice for pizza. Most other tomato varieties work, but some can be watery and make your pizza soggy.
Herbs! Sweet basil is the staple for pizza sauce; we recommend at least one kind of basil, and two other varieties to complete this slice. For the best flavor, pick leaves before the plant begins to flower. For variety, consider making basil pesto instead of tomato sauce. Other popular herbs are chives, parsley, oregano, and thyme. If planting one herb per slice, use three plants of each type. For multiple herbs, conserve space with just one of each.
Here are some favorites for your remaining sections: onions (red, yellow, or white), scallions, sweet peppers, corn, eggplant, artichokes, and zucchini. For those who like to add zip to their pizza, plant hot peppers (several should be sufficient!), and garlic. An olive tree is a lovely addition outside of your pizza garden, and it is a low water user once established.