March is a pivotal point in the garden year, this is the month that gardening really can begin. Thought March can be very mercurial and very up and down weather wise, this is usually a month of the promise of the new garden year and we can actually get our hands in the garden soil.
If the soil can be worked, you can begin preparing the ground for this years garden. Remove any mulch (this will let the soil begin to warm up some) and left over debris and rake in some good compost or fertilizer.
On nice days, do garden clean up-straighten borders, raking, pulling of what weeds are growing-and believe me-they are growing!
Start seeds of eggplant and a variety of sweet and hot peppers.
Start seeds of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, and Brussels Sprouts. Try different types of cabbages-green, red, Savoy. My favorite is Savoy, for Cole slaw!
After you have started this years seeds, store them carefully so they will stay viable till next year or later.
As soon as soil can be worked you can direct sow seeds of leeks, onions, carrots, peas, radish, spinach, parsnips and turnips.
If the soil cannot be worked yet you can start many of the above seeds in containers indoors.
If you have ordered any asparagus, rhubarb or horseradish crowns, try to get them planted as soon as possible.
If you have seeds started, they may need potted up to bigger containers. Do not let them get root bound.
If you have planted a cover crop on the garden, get it turned under.
Remove mulch from garlic and strawberry beds as the new growth begins.
Work out your crop rotation plan.
Have you started any garden work yet? Let me know!
Ahhh, March…such a mercurial month, but in reality, it is the true beginning of the gardening year.
The warm days tease me to take a walk-about around the gardens to see what is happening, if anything. And, yes! things are happening already in the garden-tulips and hyacinths popping their heads up, the sedums showing green, unfurling from amongst the leaf mulch, and the fall planted garlic showing in their row. Others, such as the asparagus and rhubarb, are still asleep, though I look hard for some visible life. Soon, soon….
We are ,(in my 5-6 gardening zone) 11 to 12 weeks before the average last frost.
There are things to be done in preparation for the new gardening year, soon to begin in earnest. While it is still too early to do much outside in the garden, there is much to be done indoors to be well prepared for the soon coming Spring.
The cold winter months are wonderful for perusing the seed catalogs that arrive just after Christmas. Oh, the dreams of beautiful, weed free gardens….
Things to do This Week in the Garden
Plan the garden. Sketch out what will be planted where. Refer to last years garden journal.
Start this years garden journal.
Survey your yard-are there any areas that need an update or to be changed? Make plans now to do this.
Visit a local Spring flower and garden show…..you will be inspired!
Check for any garden structures that need attention or replacing. It is so much easier to replace a trellis now, rather than when it is full of vines!
Inventory your past years seeds.
Peruse the seed catalogs, and place your seed orders.
Plan out your planting schedule for your climate zone.
Purchase and/or prepare the seed starting supplies.
Set up a seed starting area.
Test your soil if you choose. (I do not.)
Clean out bird nest boxes. Do it sooner rather than later, as birds do not like to be disturbed once they start nesting. The birds are already chirping!
Clear away the mulch in the beds of early blooming flowers.
Do not rush the removal of mulch and cleaning up just yet.
Cut back grasses.
Finish up the late winter pruning of roses, grapevines, fruit trees, brambles and late summer flowering shrubs.
Many pruned branches can be brought indoors and forced for early indoor bloom.
As the daylight is getting longer, houseplants will begin putting out new growth. Give them a ‘shower’, trim back foliage as needed and begin fertilizing.
Check on winter stored plants and vegetables. Care for as needed.
Clean the garden tools.
Seeds of cool season crops can be started indoors now-celery, leeks, lettuce, onions.
If you have a cold frame, you can plant cold hardy seeds, such as radish and spinach and peas.