“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens
This month in your garden you should see lots of things happening. March brings blooming crocuses, snowdrops, and primroses that bring welcome color after a bleak winter. The day lilies should be beginning to peak through the ground along with peonies, tulips and daffodils. Avoid walking on wet soil, as you never know what may be trying to poke up through the dirt! If you haven’t already completed your February Garden chores, now would be a good time to finish those and start on other areas that may need attention this month.
March Gardening Tasks:
1. Start feeding houseplants again. Repot, if necessary.
2. Test your Soil: Get your soil tested for pH levels.
3. Weed Control: Now is the best time to pull up weeds before their roots become too large, or set seed.
4. Bulbs: Once bulbs have bloomed, leave the leaves attached to the bulb to provide nourishment for next year’s bloom. Let foliage wither and yellow.
5. Sow (Indoors): Vegetables and flowers, most seeds can be started from mid to late March and as late as the first week of April. You don’t want to start your seeds too early though, as you don’t want them to get too leggy.
6. Plant (Outdoors):
- Leeks: this vegetable takes a long time to mature, so even though you may still be harvesting last years supply, its time to start planting for the new season.
- Lettuces: stagger planting times of lettuce so you have a bunch at different growth stages. This allows for a continual supply of lettuce throughout the growing season.
- Brussels sprouts: these are a love or hate vegetable, but for those of you that want to try and grow these little stink bombs, make sure to plant seed far enough apart (these plants can get up to 150 centimeters tall and a meter across) and in compacted soil.
7. Harden Off Transplants:
- Before planting in the ground, place transplants in their pots in a sheltered spot outdoors for a couple days before planting them.
- You can start acclimatizing indoor herb plants outside on sunny days, but be sure to bring them back again at night, as it still gets quite cold. Once danger of frost has passed, they can be left outside. Make sure not to shock the plants and gradually transition them, allowing the plants time to harden off.
- Prune fuchsias at the end of this month, leaving two swelling leaf buds on each pruned branch.
- Finish pruning deciduous dormant plants such as fruit trees, grapes and cane berries before they leaf out.
- Deadhead early bloomers.
9. Pest Control:
- Eliminate snails and slugs now before they damage plants.
- Set out apple maggot traps.
- Watch out for insects, especially cutworms, plant lice (aphids) and red spider mites.
- Put down mulch between rows to control weeds.
- Mulch raised beds and around trees
Note: The above list refers to areas within zone 7 and 8.
Everyone should have their seeds started, their trees and shrubs pruned and their tools ready to go. After that, the most important thing is to have patience. Even though the weather may seem nice, I know I must continue to remind myself that it is only March, and it is simply too early to plant my summer flowering bulbs, until all risk of frost is gone. Happy gardening everyone and be sure to check back to Project K’s website on Friday, March 12 for my first give away!