March Tips & Events for Santa Clara County
" A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. Doug Larson
Become a UC Master Gardener!
Answering questions at the 2015 Spring Garden Market
Do you have a love of gardening and a strong desire to share your knowledge? Now is the time to learn about becoming a Master Gardener. We only train new classes every other year, so submit your name by May 31 to find out more. 

Brownish adult, yellow nymphs, and white wax of Asian citrus psyllids, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama. Photo by Michael E. Rogers, University of Florida.
Citrus Quarantine
The only quarantine currently in effect in Santa Clara County is for the Asian Citrus Psyllid . This pest spreads huanglongbing, a citrus greening disease that can kill entire trees. For most of San Jose, Campbell, Santa Clara, and Milpitas, do not move citrus plant material, including stems and leaves, out of the quarantine area. It is okay to take clean or prepared fruit to family, friends, co-workers, and food banks. 

Photo: Brownish adult, yellow nymphs, and white wax of Asian citrus psyllids. Photo by Michael E. Rogers, University of Florida.
Cymbidium orchid, Photo Allen Buchinski
Dividing Orchids
When your cymbidium orchid blooms start to fade, you can divide them if they have become crowded in the pot. Remove the clump from the pot. Look for healthy pseudobulbs with green leaves growing from them. Cut the clump into sections with three or more bulbs each and replant each new smaller clump into a separate pot.

Growing Cymbidium orchids , American Orchid Society
Photo: cymbidium blossoms, Allen Buchinski
Red rose close-up, UC by Jack Kelly Clark
Fertilizing Roses
Fertilize your roses monthly starting in March and continuing until the fall. Fertilizers designed specifically for roses will supply the right nutrient balance. Follow label directions. Applying too much fertilizer produces excess tender new growth which will attract pests such as aphids.

Roses in the Garden , UC Integrated Pest Management website
Photo: UC, Jack Kelly Clark
Right Plant, Right Place
When doing spring planting, choose plants that are likely to do well in our area. Plants that don't need a lot of work and are not under stress are less likely to have problems with pests and diseases. Things to keep in mind—in order—are the function of the landscape (food, privacy, play); the unique conditions of the site (soil, climate, sun); the width of the plant at maturity; the eventual height; and lastly the color of the flowers and foliage. For example, if you're planting ornamentals, the UC Davis Arboretum All Star Plants have a great selection of plants that do well in California.

Peas in pod, University of California
In some parts of the country it is a tradition to plant peas on St. Patrick's Day, but we can plant them weeks earlier. In fact, it's best to think of March as the last chance before fall to plant this cool-season crop. Seeds can be sowed directly into the ground or raised bed or container. Plant the seeds about an inch deep, preferably in soil amended with compost. Water them well to help them germinate. Provide vertical support early for the climbing vines.

Photo: peas in pod, University of California
Tomato seedlings
We Can Start the Plants for You!
The Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County specialize in researching tomato varieties that taste best and grow best in our area and making those available to the public. After testing them in our research gardens, we plant about 100 varieties in our greenhouses and sell them at our annual Spring Garden Market. This year we will be at a new location, Martial Cottle Park in San Jose, Saturday, April 14, starting at 9:00 a.m. Mark it on your calendars! We also have many varieties of sweet and hot chiles, herbs, and lots of other summer vegetables and flowers.

Photo: young tomato seedlings, by Bracey Tiede
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Upcoming Events
Thu, Mar 01, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Healthy Garden Soil with Compost: Three-Week Course  ($45), Camden Community Center, 3369 Union Ave,  San Jose

Sat, Mar 03, 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.,  Hands on Experience on How to Prune a Citrus Tree, Plant a New Tree, and Set Up Irrigation , Guadalupe Historic Family Orchard, Between Taylor St. and Coleman Ave @ Guadalupe River Park,  San Jose

Sat, Mar 03, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.,  Spring Tasks in the Garden , Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 801 Center Street,  Palo Alto

Mon, Mar 05, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Tomatoes Successfully , Morgan Hill Library, 60 W Main Street,  Morgan Hill

Wed, Mar 07, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Attracting California Native Bees to the Urban Garden , Cupertino Community Hall, Cupertino

Thu, Mar 08, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Winning the War on Weeds , Cupertino Community Center, 10350 Torre Ave,  Cupertino

Sat, Mar 10, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.,  Seeds to Plants – Tips on how to Start from Seed , St. Louise Hospital Demo Garden, 9400 No Name Uno Way,  Gilroy

Sat, Mar 10, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.,  Adding California Natives, Mediterranean, and Other Waterwise Plants to Your Garden , Martial Cottle Park, 5283 Snell Ave,  San Jose

Tue, Mar 13, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Warm Season Vegetables in your Garden , Gilroy Public Library, 350 W 6th St,  Gilroy

Sat, Mar 17, 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.,  Growing Potatoes , Community Room Bascom Branch Library, 1000 South Bascom Ave,  San Jose

Sat, Mar 17, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.,  From Seed to Plant , Berryessa Public Library, 3355 Noble Ave,  San Jose

Sat, Mar 17, 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Growing Warm Season Vegetables , Sunnyvale Public Library, 665 W Olive Ave,  Sunnyvale

Tue, Mar 20, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.,  Growing Exotic Fruit in the South Bay , Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave,  Saratoga

Wed, Mar 21, 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Success in the Vegetable Garden: Six-Week Course , Guadalupe River Park, 438 Coleman Ave,  San Jose

Wed, Mar 21, 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.,  Gardener's To-Do List for Spring , West Valley Library, 1243 San Tomas Aquino Road,  San Jose

Wed, Mar 21, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Summer Vegetables in Your Garden , Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street,  Milpitas

Sat, Mar 24, 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.,  Warm Season Vegetable Talk , Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Road,  Santa Clara

Tue, Mar 27, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Growing Your Favorite Summer Vegetables , Campbell Public Library, 77 Harrison Ave,  Campbell

Wed, Mar 28, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  Native Plant Allstars , Sunnyvale Main Library, 665 W. Olive Ave,  Sunnyvale

Wed, Mar 28, 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m.,  All About Tomatoes! , Los Altos Public Library, 13 S. San Antonio Road,  Los Altos

Sat, Apr 07, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Going Native Garden Tour—Northern Santa Clara County Santa Clara Cities

Sun, Apr 08, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.,  Going Native Garden Tour—Southern Santa Clara County , Santa Clara Cities

Sat, Apr 14, 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.,  Spring Garden Market - Martial Cottle Park , 5283 Snell 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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