Brighter sunshine and longer days will now begin to show their effects by a rapid growth of plants in the greenhouse, and also in those of the parlor or window garden; examine all plants that are growing vigorously and are healthy, and if the roots have struck to the sides of the pot and matted the "ball" of earth, then they must be shifted into larger sized pots; if this is long neglected the plants are certain to suffer in consequence; for details of operations see chapter on Potting. The plants propagated last month may now need shifting also, and propagation should continue of all plants that are likely to be wanted. If propagation is put off later, most plants would not be large enough if needed for bedding purposes in the flower-garden in summer. The hardier kinds of annuals may now be sown; it is best done in boxes, as recommended elsewhere. Lawns may now be raked off and top-dressed with short manure or rich garden earth where manure is not obtainable, and on light soils flower-beds may be dug up so as to forward the work preparatory to the coming of the busy season.
In light, dry soils planting may be safely done in many sections, but we again caution the inexperienced not to get impatient and begin to plant before the ground is dry; it is bad to do so even in light sandy soils, but in stiff and clayey ones it will be utter destruction. Again at this season, although a tree or plant will receive no injury when its roots are in the soil, should a frost come after planting, yet that same amount of freezing would greatly injure the plant if the roots were uncovered and exposed. Thousands of trees and plants fail every year from this cause; they are exposed for sale in our markets with no protection to the roots, and even the experienced purchaser rarely has sufficient knowledge to be certain whether the roots of a tree have been injured by being frozen or dried up by the cold winds of March. It is always best when it can be done, to purchase direct from the nearest reliable nurserymen; they well know the importance of having the roots properly protected, while in two cases out of three the market huckster neither knows nor cares.
This is a busy month. Hot-beds must now be all started, and all the seeds of the hardier vegetables may be sown in locations where the frost is out and the ground dry, the list given for southern states in January may now be used at the north, while for most of the southern states the tender kinds of vegetables may now be sown and planted, such as egg-plant, okra, melon, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, etc.