How Does Your Garden Grow? – March 2015

Geraniums love cooler spring weather and do well in containers.

Geraniums love cooler spring weather and do well in containers.

Louise Grabell

Spring is in the air! That’s right all you gardeners out—ready, set, go! By now your yards are cleaned, citrus has been fertilized, pruning is done, shears and clippers are cleaned and sharpened and plenty of Tylenol is on hand for those aching backs. Ah—the joys of gardening!

It’s a good time to turn on your irrigation system to make sure all drip lines are working and no emitters are clogged or broken. Keep your winter irrigation schedule running until mid-April and then change over to your summer routine. Add emitters to trees that have grown, making sure the drip system is placed at the edge of the tree canopy. Drippers near the trunk of a tree do not water the tree. The absorption of water takes place at and beyond the edge of the largest diameter of the tree canopy. So don’t waste water; place it where it will do the most good.

Now is the time to plant and enjoy snapdragons and geraniums. These flowering plants will provide you with brilliant color until the weather turns persistently hot. Plant tomato seedlings now and make sure to choose plants that have a short ripening time. Most smaller varieties—like cherry and grape—will ripen in less than three months. Leave those beef tomato seedlings in the store as it is very difficult to get a crop before the heat of the summer destroys the plants.

While you are at the store, pick up a bag of ammonium sulfate which is used to green-up any shrubs or trees [even citrus] that are looking yellowish. This type of fertilizer provides nitrogen (an essential nutrient) to our low nitrogen soil. If most of your landscape plants are natives, then this treatment won’t be necessary.

Toss out all the soil from your containers and start anew this spring. Plants in containers deplete the soil of most of its nutrients. Fresh soil for a fresh start!

The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke have a website: for all up to date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 520-407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jeffrey C. Silvertooth, Director, Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona.

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