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GARDEN FANATIC: Fresh March air, strawberries appear

My pulse quickens with excitement for spring gardening, to breathe the fresh air of March and taste the first strawberry from the garden. I anticipate and then savor the precious moment when the first daffodil appears. I smile at Catharine’s joy in seeing three new spikes on her orchid. And I enjoyed answering your questions for the Plant Man.

Q. I haven’t pruned my roses yet. Am I too late?

A. Absolutely not. Prune lightly to shape, and don’t forget to fertilize and apply a dormant spray.

Q. Should I fertilize my garden now?


A. Spring-like weather is upon us and your plants are hungry. If you don’t fertilize your garden on a regular basis, this is the most important month to do so.

Q. Is it too late for bulbs?

A. March is the “other” bulb season. There is plenty of time to start gladiolus, dahlias, the fragrant tuberose and, of course, tuberous begonias. They will all benefit by being mulched to keep the soil moist.

Q. What do I do with my old bulbs?


A. Hyacinth, narcissus or other spring-flowering bulbs that have flowered may be saved, by allowing the foliage to remain on the plant. Once the foliage has matured, remove the bulbs and keep them dry until time for planting in the fall.

Q. Help! My plants are being eaten by deer.

A. Try this formula. Blend 2 eggs with 1/2 cup of water at high speed for 3 minutes. Add an additional 2 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of Tabasco sauce. Blend and refrigerate overnight.

Spray generously over your plants and repeat after heavy watering or rain.

Q. My lawn isn’t looking very green and has a number of holes in it. Any hints?

A. Your lawn should be fertilized with a product high in nitrogen. You may decide to select a fertilizer that is combined with a weed killer. This is a good month to reseed bare spots as well.

Q. Is it safe to start my tomatoes?

A. If you’re missing those home-grown tomatoes, I would recommend that you set out varieties like Early Girl and cherry tomatoes, which do well in Laguna during March.


Things haven’t changed much for me lately; I still have a lack of time and too many competing interests.

I wish I could spend more time with my family and share a long walk with Buster and Blondie. I promise I will, but first I’m going down to the garden to smell the roses. See you next time.

STEVE KAWARATANI is happily married to award winning writer Catharine Cooper and has four dogs. He can be reached at (949) 497-8168, or e-mail to