Marianne Binetti

There’s lots to do in the yard now, like spreading compost and planting pansies

Now’s a good time to spread compost on your garden.
Now’s a good time to spread compost on your garden. MCT

The second week of March is time to fertilize the lawn, plant perennials and hardy annuals like pansies, sow seeds of lettuce and chard in the garden and add more roses and berry plants to your landscape.

One of the most important and time-saving tasks is pulling or smothering the shot weed before it has a chance to bloom and go to seed.

Q. I have an old vegetable garden and want to renew it with compost. My question is how much and how to apply compost. — R.T., Tacoma

A. Your garden is jumping for joy right now at the idea of adding compost to the soil.

You can just layer the compost on top of the soil from 1 to 4 inches deep, and if you are using weed free compost from the nursery or garden center, that is all you need to do.

The worms will mix the compost frosting into your soil. If you have your own compost that most likely has weed seeds, it is still valuable stuff. If you dig a trench and layer the compost down a few inches beneath the original soil surface, you will have fewer weeds sprouting once the weather warms.

Q. When is a good time to transplant a few roses? My neighbor’s trees are now shading my Peace rose and my Queen Elizabeth rose, and I have noticed fewer blooms each summer. — P., Enumclaw

A. Dig in and transplant your rose plants as soon as possible.

Moving and adding roses while they are dormant in the winter is best, but in early spring you can still be successful transplanting roses, trees and most shrubs. Now you have a shaded area open to add some wonderful woodland plants to replace the roses … some hellebores perhaps?

Q. Can I grow spinach and kale in a container? I have only a balcony for gardening space, but my health professional said I need to eat fresher, leafy green vegetables. I am a beginning gardener but saw you at the garden show. — B.C., Bellevue

A. Welcome to a healthier lifestyle and don’t worry — growing leafy greens is super easy in our cool Western Washington climate.

You don’t need a deep or large container, but you do need one with drainage holes that will hold at least 8 inches of potting soil. Read and follow the instructions on the back of the seed pack, and you can be harvesting fresh, nutrient packed greens in as soon as six weeks.

Keep planting seeds for a succession of produce. I hope to see you at one of my container gardening classes this spring, as I will be teaching several free classes in your area. Visit my web site at for times and dates of spring garden classes.


March 14, 7 p.m., “Knock Out Gardens with Beautiful Plants,” Sammamish Plateau Water District, 1510 228th Ave., Sammamish, free.