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Marching toward spring
Southwest Agriculture Summit concludes today at Arizona Western College. The summit showcases new and innovative ideas in agriculture throughout the desert Southwest.
Yuma Lettuce Days Culinary Festival will take place at the Quartermaster Depot Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The event combines locally grown produce with interactive displays, programs, exhibits, vendors and culinary activities. Ben Ford, celebrity chef and son of Harrison Ford, will present cooking demonstrations and offer samples to those in the audience at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Spring is in the air! Our temperatures are warming up and thoughts are turning to the fast-approaching Yuma County Fair April 2-7.
This year's fair theme is “Grand Ol' Fair,” and you can have a grand ol' time entering your plants and cut specimens in the fair's flower show sponsored by Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma.
The flower show's theme is “Cowboy Serenade.” Check the fair schedule for floral design titles. Horticulture and floral design entries may be entered April 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and April 2 from 7 to 9 a.m. Horticulture entries need to be clean and insect free. Containers for cut specimens will be provided at the show. Horticulture entries must be in possession of the exhibitor for a minimum of 90 days before the flower show.
Check the fair schedule for the number of cut specimens needed for each class of horticulture. The public is encouraged to enter, both adults and juniors.
All entries will be removed April 7 from 8 to 9 a.m. or April 8 from 8 to 9 a.m. Come join the fun! Bring your entries to the Yuma County Fair's Flower Show.
This time of year is also the perfect time to join a local garden club and make some wonderful friends.
Yuma Garden Club meets the second Monday of each month (March 11), 1 p.m., at the Main Library, Rooms B-C, 2951 S. 21st Drive. The program is “The Buzz about Bees,” presented by Mike Lawhon, owner of Buggy Whip Extermination Co. Information concerning bees, maintaining bee hives and removal of unwanted hives from home properties will be discussed.
As a fundraiser, Yuma Garden Club will be “taking over” Lutes Casino on March 14, 4-8 p.m. Come down, enjoy some great food and help support the club's community service projects.
Yuma Orchid and African Violet Society meets the second Thursday of each month (March 14), 1 p.m., Foothills Library. Bring an African violet leaf to share with a fellow gardener.
MGM Garden Club meets each Tuesday morning at the Moody Garden, 2200 W. 28th St., off of Avenue B, to maintain the garden. Their business meeting is held the last Tuesday of the month, 9 a.m., at the Cooperative Extension Office.
Pecan Grove Garden Club meets the third Tuesday of each month (March 19), 6:30 p.m., Main Library, Room A, 2951 S. 21st Drive off of Avenue B. The program is “Wetlands Projects Update,” an update on the ongoing restoration of land along the Colorado River and the development of educational projects connected with the Wetlands. Speaker is Brian Golding Sr., Economic Development Administration director, Quechan Indian Tribe.
“Welcome to My Garden Tour,” sponsored by Pecan Grove Garden Club, will be held Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a self-guided tour of five beautifully landscaped yards in the Yuma area. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at Highway Nursery, Zinn Printing and Foothills Cactus World or at any home on the tour. With tickets, you receive a flier listing the home addresses for all gardens on the tour. Children are free. Proceeds help fund the club's community service projects.
The tour includes the following homes: 11487 Via Canada (Mesa del Sol off of Hensley Street), 11465 Via Canada (Mesa del Sol off of Hensley Street), 1333 11th Ave. (off of Avenue A), 14870 E. 46th Loop (The Ravines at Las Barrancas Golf Course, Foothills) and 8528 S. Shannon Way (Highway 95, north on 5E, left on County 8½. This property is a mini-farm with lots to see, well worth the drive.) Call 210-4621 or 782-7324 for more information.
March Gardening Tips
Citrus: Plant citrus. Meyer lemon, Marrs sweet orange, Melogold grapefruit, Minneola tangelo and Nagami kumquat are a few varieties to try. Fertilize established citrus.
Vegetables: Sow seeds for beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, radishes, and spinach. Sow seeds for cucumber, melons, pumpkin, okra, zucchini, squash, bush beans and sweet corn. Set out transplants of peppers and tomatoes.
Annuals: Sow seeds for zinnia, coneflower, sunflower, hollyhock, nasturtium, clarkia, larkspur, sweet pea and California poppy. Deadhead blossoms on annuals to encourage more flowers. Plant petunia, stock, snapdragon, and marigold.
Perennials: Plant verbena, vinca, sundrops, or moss verbena for groundcover. Plant chrysanthemum, Shasta daisy, statice, desert ruellia, penstemon, salvia, lantana, and delphinium.
Prune any frost-damaged plants.
Bulbs and rhizomes: Plant ranunculus, amaryllis, cannas, spider lily, tiger flower and rain lily. Amaryllis are planted with at least half the bulb above ground, cannas are planted 6 inches below ground, and rain lilies are planted just below ground. Do not remove green leaves from bulbs that have bloomed; allow leaves to dry completely before removing.
Trees: In honor of Johnny Appleseed Day, March 11, plant an Anna Smith or Dorsett Gold apple tree. For Arbor Day, March 18, plant a tree. Cascalote, Texas mountain laurel, palo verde, desert willow, Texas olive, pomegranate, sweet acacia, royal poinciana, orchid tree, mission fig and jacaranda are trees that grow well in Yuma.
Thin fruit on deciduous fruit trees to prevent limb breakage. Leave one fruit every 4-6 inches. If you haven't fertilized your fruit trees yet, fertilize deciduous fruit trees with ammonium nitrate and citrus with ammonium sulphate before blooming begins. Water well.
Shrubs: Plant bougainvillea, hibiscus, myrtle, brittle bush wolfberry, chuparosa and butterfly bush. Prune established perennials to the size you wish. Plant red fairy duster and yellow bells.
Herbs: Sow seeds or set out transplants.
Roses: Fertilize established roses.
Cacti and succulents: Plant now. Cut back cholla and prickly pear if they are becoming too large for their space.
Vines: Plant passion flower, black-eyed Susan vine, cup and saucer, yellow orchid, purple coral, queen's wreath, cross vine or cat claw vine. Plant grapes, bare-root or container-grown. If not leafed out, prune established grapevines back to four original canes, two in one direction horizontally and two in the other.
Karen Bowen is a master gardener and member of Yuma Garden Club. This column is sponsored by the Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma.