March Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." Hal Borland
Save the date! Spring Garden Market April 8, 2017
Our 28th annual Spring Garden Market will be held on Saturday, April 8 at History Park in San Jose from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. This is our premier plant sale, sustainable gardening showcase, and vendor fair. We grow varieties not readily available elsewhere, selected for outstanding taste, beauty, and performance in our soil and climate. More information
Heirloom tomatoes
Pruning After Last Frost
The average last frost date in Santa Clara County is March 15. If the forecast looks good as of that date, it's probably safe to prune frost damage. Congratulations if you were patient with tolerating dead leaves and branches—you can now prune back to where you see new growth or live green wood. Once you remove the damaged growth, you can do your normal pruning for shape and production.

More info: Recognizing and Caring for Frost Damaged Plants.

Photo: frost damage on Lily of the Nile (agapanthus)

Fertilizing Shrubs
Most shrubs in your garden can be fertilized now. For azaleas and rhododendrons, wait until they have finished blooming. Follow the fertilizer package instructions; too much fertilizer can lead to "burnt" foliage, more pests attracted to the tender new growth, or extra need for water. Ornamental plants that are well established and have lots of organic matter around them in the form of compost or mulch, or that are native to California, may not need fertilizer at all. UC offers some guidelines in the link below.

More info: Fertilizing and Watering Landscape Plants

Illustration: UC Davis Good Life Garden Blog

Plant Bulbs Now for Color Later
Summer and fall-blooming bulbs and tubers can be planted now. These include begonia, canna, dahlia, gladiolus, and more. For bulbs, make selections that are firm and heavy for their size. Plant them with the pointy side up and the root scar side down, in well-drained soil. Plant them to a depth about three times the size of the bulb. UC provides a year-round planting guide for flowering bulbs and basic care instructions.

More info: Basic Bulb Care

Illustration: Understanding Bulbs, Butte County Master Gardeners Blog

Determining soil texture by the feel method. Fine-textured soil.
Careful With Wet Soil
Most of the soil in our area is wetter than it's been in many years. And most of our soil is clay so it can easily be compacted. Those air spaces in the soil are important for the roots and for beneficial organisms that live in the soil. Try to avoid walking on, digging, or rototilling saturated soil.

More info: Managing clay soils
Traditional wisdom calls for planting peas on St. Patrick's Day (March 17). While other parts of the country may require a later planting, we can be green on that day in California! Peas do well in the spring and fall when the weather is a little cooler. Soaking the seeds overnight to soften them helps germination but it's not necessary. You can plant them directly in the garden, about three-quarters of an inch deep. They grow as a vine so give them a trellis or other support. For spring planting, choose varieties resistant to powdery mildew.

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Upcoming Events
Wed, Mar 01, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Starting Your Summer Vegetable Garden from Seed , Cupertino Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave., Cupertino

Sat, Mar 04, 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., Planting and Caring for Citrus , Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 851 Center Dr., Palo Alto

Tue, Mar 07, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Spring and Summer Fruit Tree Care , Gilroy Library, 350 W. Sixth St., Gilroy

Fri, Mar 10, 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Beginning Vegetable Gardening, Avenidas, 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto

Sat, Mar 11, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Growing Citrus Successfully , Bascom Branch Library, 1000 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose

Sun, Mar 12, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., How to Prune Dormant Fruit Trees , Heritage Rose Garden, 438 Coleman Ave., San Jose

Tue, Mar 14, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Gophers-Rabbits & Deer - Oh My! , Community Room, Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Saratoga

Wed, Mar 15, 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., From Seed to Plant , Calabazas Branch Library, 1230 N. Blaney Ave., San Jose

Wed, Mar 15, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Find Success Growing Your Own Culinary Herbs , Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main St., Milpitas

Thu, Mar 16, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Taking Care of your Citrus Trees , Palo Alto Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Rd., Palo Alto

Sat, Mar 18, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Seeds to Plants: Tips on Starting from Seed , St. Louise Hospital Teaching and Demonstration Garden, 9400 No Name Uno Way, Gilroy

Sat, Mar 18, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Attracting More Pollinators to your Garden Year Round , Berryessa Branch Library, 3355 Noble Ave., San Jose

Sat, Mar 18, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Design Your Garden with Low-Water Plants , Program Room, Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W. Olive Ave., Sunnyvale

Mon, Mar 20, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Growing Warm-Season Vegetables in your Garden , Morgan Hill Library, 660 W. Main Ave., Morgan Hill

Tue, Mar 21, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Growing Citrus Successfully , Gilroy Library, 350 W. Sixth St., Gilroy

Wed, Mar 29, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Gardening in Containers , Los Altos Public Library, 13 S. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos

Sat, Apr 08, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Spring Garden Market , History Park, 1650 Senter Road, San Jose

Thu, Apr 20, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Beginning Gardening: A 3-Week Course , Guadalupe River Park Conservancy Visitor and Education Center, 438 Coleman Ave., San Jose
Visit the UC Master Gardener Program website for additional information including an up-to-date list of events and classes.

Have a gardening question? Contact our Hotline (for Santa Clara County residents). Start by reviewing our plant problem diagnosis tips.
  • Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 408-282-3105
  • Fri ONLY 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., 650-329-1356 (Closed Dec. & Jan.)
  • Or send us your question online

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Santa Clara County Master Gardener Program volunteers are trained under the auspices of the UCCE. Our mission is to promote sustainable gardening practices by providing up-to-date, research-based horticultural information to home gardeners.

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