Volume 03  | March 2017
Fake Spring...Real Winter
February gave us a taste of spring - enough to make our fingers itch to be in the soil again. Peach trees bloomed early and perennials shot up through the winter mulch. Don't let the warm temps and garden center displays fool you - winter is still here and our last average frost date is still a month away. For most in Hampton Roads, that date is between April 10 and April 21. It is still too early to leave tender plants outdoors. It is okay to plant certain things, though. Hardy trees and shrubs that are still dormant can go in the ground now, but be careful of planting anything that has "broken bud" and started to develop flowers. Those plants are in danger of frost and freeze damage. It is safe to plant certain vegetable crops this month, too. A reference chart from Virginia Cooperative Extension can show what should be planted in March and early April, and what should wait until soil temperatures rise and we're past the danger of frost.

If the early warm temperatures have already brought your garden back to life, you can protect new foliage and buds during the cold nights. An old bed sheet, blanket, or burlap can be used to cover them. To avoid breaking stems, use supports under the sheet to keep it from touching the plant, and weight it down around the edges. The cover will help keep the earth's heat trapped around the plant. Use caution if you are covering with plastic - if the plastic touches your plant, you can still have cold damage. All covers should be removed when temperatures rise above freezing so that light, water, and air can reach the plant. For small plants, a bucket or empty milk jug with the bottom cut out can be used for cover.

Don't forget Daylight Savings Time on Sunday - it's time to Spring Forward one hour on the clocks.

Have gardening questions? Help is available year round through the Master Gardener Help Desk by calling 757-385-8156 or email your question to vbmghelp@vbgov.com

Upcoming Events
Mar. 25 - Plant Doctor Clinic
The first Plant Doctor Clinic will be at the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, Dam Neck Rd., from 10 am - 2 pm. Volunteers can help answer your gardening and plant questions and assist in troubleshooting any problems you've encountered.

Mar. 27 - Gardening Talk
Vegetable Irrigation Methods - Joey Elliot, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener.
Learn how to improve your watering methods while conserving water, reducing runoff, and preventing potential weed growth.
FREE, No registration required. 7-8pm, Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.

Spring Lawn Care
Whether you have a cool season or warm season grass lawn, March is the time for some maintenance.   

Cool Season Lawn Maintenance

Francis Land House Vegetable, Flax, and Herb Garden

The Francis Land House gardens include an heirloom vegetable garden, flax garden, and herb garden. The vegetable garden consists of 35 raised beds, and volunteers grow approximately 150 varieties of vegetables each year. Additionally, there are three 10’ x 10’ plots to grow flax, cotton and the Three Sisters (corn, pole beans and squash) and one 10’ x 15’ pollinator flower bed. Volunteers in the herb garden grow colonial-appropriate herbs used by the Land Family from 1806 forward. Herbs have been labeled with names and uses. The gardens are all located on the grounds of the Francis Land House at 3131 Virginia Beach Blvd, and are open to the public. Volunteers work on Tuesday mornings, mid-March through mid-December.

Plan Ahead
Apr. 25 & May 4 - Master Gardener Intern Orientation
Interested in becoming a Virginia Beach Master Gardener? Attend one of our Orientations to find out more! 10am - 12 noon, 1449 Princess Anne Rd, Building 14 - upstairs conference room.

May 6 & 7 - Spring Plant Sale
Virginia Beach Farmer's Market, 3640 Dam Neck Rd. Saturday: 9am - 3pm
Sunday: 10am - 2pm

May 22 - Gardening Talk
Fighting Mosquitos in a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape - Demaris Yearick - VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener and Jessica Ruthenberg, Watchable Wildlife Biologist
Jessica will focus on the habitat that discourages mosquitos, and Demaris will discuss preventative methods of control.
FREE, No registration required. 7-8pm, Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Jill Wright at 757-385-4769 during the business hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. TDD number (800) 828-1120.   

Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.