What to Do in the Garden in March

What to Do in the Garden in March
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What to Do in the Garden in March

Breaking Down What You Can Do in the Garden by Zone in March

Have you felt like you’ve been twiddling your thumbs all winter? Or maybe you’ve binge watched all of the Netflix that you can handle. If that sounds like you, then you’ll be glad to see this month roll around! March is the month when spring officially starts, thanks to the spring equinox. Shoots start to emerge from the ground and buds appear on the ends of branches. Most people can say goodbye to the dreary landscape in March and start welcoming green back into their yards.

Stop Planning and Start Working

You’ve had plenty of time to get your garden planning done. It’s time to get your hands in the dirt this month. In some of the warmer climates, you can spend the month planting and caring for early blooming plants. If you’re in a cooler climate, you can clean up your garden spaces and take care of any last-minute pruning or maintenance. By the end of the month, nearly everyone can be actively gardening.

If you plan on starting seeds, this is your last call. Place any last-minute orders for seeds and seed starting supplies as soon as possible. These supplies are a hot commodity this month and you may find that your selection is limited. Placing your order early will ensure you get the seeds and supplies you want with plenty of time to get them started. Remember, you’ll soon be able to get those seedlings into the ground.

Maintenance Tasks

This is the perfect month to amend your garden soil. Amending the soil before planting allows the nutrients to break down, making them more available to your plants. It also helps to prevent ‘hot’ garden soil. Too much fertilizer in the soil can quite literally burn the roots off your plants, which is where the term ‘hot’ garden soil comes from. Fertilizing and amending your soil before you plant will help to prevent this from happening. It also ensures that you’ll be putting your plants into nutrient-rich soil.

This is also the time to maintain any flowerbeds, trees, or bushes. If you’re in a cold climate and your trees and bushes haven’t started budding out yet, you can get any last-minute pruning done. If your plants have started budding, don’t prune them. Wait until next winter to get it done. Cold hardy annuals and early blooming perennials may start to emerge. Be sure to deadhead them as needed to keep them blooming.

Are you planning on planting bulbs this year? Many bulbs can be planted in the spring. Flowering plants that bloom in the summer, like dahlias and lilies, should be planted in the spring. Flowering plants that bloom in the spring should be planted in the fall. If you have bulbs that bloom in the spring, hold off planting them. You can also move plants this month if they are still dormant and the ground isn’t still frozen.

What to Do in the Garden in March Based on Your Hardiness Zone

Zones 3-4

If you’re living in the upper U.S., you’re probably growing tired of the long winter days, frequent snow storms and dreary weather. Luckily, by the end of this month you’ll be able to see the first hints of spring. Your biggest task this month should be to get your seeds started. Start your seeds for tomatoes, onions, peppers, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and egg plant this month.

Some frost-hardy plants can be planted outdoors near the end of the month. Plants like kale can withstand temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is also an ideal time to do any last minute pruning of trees and shrubs before they begin to bud out.

Zones 5-6

You can start planting outdoors this month. If you started seeds for lettuce, carrots, peas, and radishes, you can plant them outdoors this month. In Zone 6, you can also plant potatoes into the garden at the end of the month. Potatoes have a long growing season and will need all the growing time they can get. Have row covers on hand just in case of a hard cold snap.

If you haven’t yet, start your seeds for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. When you start your tomatoes, try an early season variety, like Park’s Season Starter tomato. You can plant these outdoors in your garden at the end of this month. An early season tomato will start producing fruit sooner than some of the other varieties.

This is also the best time to get rose bushes and landscaping bushes into the ground. It’s also a good idea to check your existing garden and landscape for any damaged branches that should be removed due to winter damage. Pruning and removing broken or damaged branches this month will help prevent them from causing future issues.

Zone 7

March is a busy month in Zone 7. Cruciferous crops that you started indoors (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) should be planted outdoors this month. They need time to grow and be harvested before you get your summer garden into the ground. Some of the hardier herbs can be planted outdoors this month. Rosemary, thyme, oregano and chives are robust plants, meaning you can get them into the ground this month.

Some of your faster growing cool-season plants can be planted in the middle of March. Lettuce, spinach, kale, carrots, and radishes should be planted this month. These plants will grow quickly, so you can get them harvested before your summer garden needs to be planted.

If you’re planting asparagus or potatoes this year, this is the time to plant them. Asparagus will come back year after year, so be sure to plant them where they will have plenty of growing space. You’ll be able to harvest your potatoes at the end of summer if you get them in the ground this month.

Zone 8

Some of your cold hardy vegetables should already be in the ground if you live in Zone 8. You may even be harvesting some of your cruciferous crops. The temperatures are warm enough here that battling pests has become a reality. Use traps or diatomaceous earth around your crops to keep annoying cabbage worms and slugs off of your crops.

Did you start your warm season crops indoors? If so, you’ll need to start hardening them off in the middle of the month. The hardening process takes about two weeks to complete. Start introducing your plants gradually to natural sunlight and the outdoor temperatures. Slowly work them into full sun. This will help prevent any shock when you plant them in the garden at the end of the month.

HOW TO HARDEN OFF SEEDLINGS

You can start planting your warm season crops at the end of the month. Make sure that your seedlings are off to a strong start. Fertilize them once a week and cull any smaller plants that aren’t thriving from your seedling trays. By the end of the month, you can plant corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons and herbs. You can also start planting some of your favorite summer annuals like daisies and zinnias.

Zone 9

This month is your last chance to plant your cold hardy vegetables. If you haven’t yet, get your cool season crops into the ground. Plants like lettuce, radishes, carrots and peas can be planted and harvested before the weather gets too warm for them.

This is the month to start hardening off your warm-season seedlings. At the beginning of the month, start the hardening off process. To prevent shock, you’ll want to gradually introduce your plants to natural sunlight and the temperatures over a two week period. This will help your plants thrive when you plant them into the garden.

Your warm season vegetables can be planted in the middle of March. You can also start planting herbs outdoors this month. If you have citrus trees, prune back any damaged branches.

Zones 10-11

The weather in these zones is feeling amazing this month. You can safely plant all of your vegetable plants, even the most heat-loving crops like okra. This is the month to fill your garden up with all of your favorite vegetables -- tomatoes, melons, squash, okra, cucumbers, etc. Any cool season crops that are left in your garden need to be harvested to prevent bolting.

If you’re looking to add to your landscape or flowerbeds, you can go wild this month. Plant any shrubs, rose bushes or trees that you want to add this month.

March in these areas is a busy time for gardeners. You’ve probably noticed a few pests, so you’ll want to monitor your plants daily and treat pests as needed. You’ll also want to stay on top of fertilizing and composting. Add compost to your soil frequently to provide nutrients for your plants. Use fertilizer as needed to ensure your plants get all of their nutrients they need to thrive.

The Official Start to Spring

March sees the return of longer days and warmer temperatures. This means that you’ll also see the return of wild birds and insects. As the ground thaws out, insects will start to emerge, which can wreak havoc on your garden if you aren’t prepared. One of the best ways to control the pests in your garden is to attract wild birds to your garden space. As birds start to return, they’ll begin looking for suitable nesting spaces. Encourage birds to nest in your yard, near your garden. Add feeders, waterers and bird houses.

You can also hang beneficial insect housing around your garden. This will attract helpful insects to your garden to help control pests. One of the best examples of this is the ladybug. Ladybugs love the housing structures designed for attracting beneficial insects. Ladybugs can be a powerhouse in your garden, eating as many as 200-250 aphids per day.

The official start to spring will mean there’s a lot of things going on in your garden and yard. If you’ve been itching to get outside and get your hands dirty, you’ll enjoy this month.

 

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