March Gardening Checklist
The busy month of March
Finally, it's March. Depending on where you live, the weather can be a lovely, early spring opportunity to get out in the garden and get to work or an obstacle that you need to work around. One thing is sure: it's no time to dawdle because there's plenty to do this month.
Caution is the keyword this month. It may look warm and inviting, but unless you live in the lower latitudes, you could be courting disaster if you try to plant before your last frost date. Suit the work to the weather.
- If you haven't been monitoring it, turn your compost pile now.
Dampen it and begin turning it regularly to get it to heat up so you can enjoy
the production of good compost faster. If you haven't started a compost pile,
start one this month.
- Deal with pests now. A lime sulphur spray is organic and
protects against scales, mites, and borers on fruit trees, roses, and shrubs
as well as black spot and powdery mildew. It's a dormant spray, so apply before
the middle of the month when many plants begin to bud out. (Protect your house;
it can spot brick, stucco, and leave spots on paint.) After they begin to
bud, a Bordeaux mixture of copper dust can be used. Always use any
compound—organic or otherwise—cautiously according to the manufacturer's
- Get those weeds while they are little. Use a flame gun
to spot kill weeds while they are small or pull by hand. Vinegar or boiling
water also work to kill weeds and don't leave problems behind. Avoid using
salt, because it will ruin the soil.
- If you haven't already planned your season's plantings, do it now.
Take advantage of companion planting that can strengthen and reinforce plant
vigor while repelling pests. For example, nasturtiums and marigolds repel
white flies and aphids.
- March is the best time to make corrections and improvements to lawn
including reseeding. Adding a layer of compost mixed with wood ash
can reinvigorate poor soil and cut down on moss.
- Build a cold frame to acclimate seedlings and tender plants
to ready them for transplant in April and May.
- Finish other structural projects like trellises before
- Plant early spring vegetables and flowers. These include
spinach, lettuces, peas, and leeks as well as sweet peas.
- Depending on your region, early spring is also a good time to divide
and transplant if the soil isn't too wet. Respacing existing favorites
can give them extra wiggle room to get bigger and healthier.
- Mulch early bulbs especially if you live in less temperate
areas where freezing temperatures hang on.
- Dahlia tubers stored last fall can be started late in the month.
Lay on a bed of sand and begin watering. (Avoid overwatering and too much
- Prune roses just before they start to bud out.
- Attend to your indoor plants too. They've just come through
a long winter and need a bit of fertilizer. Repot those that are root bound.
Avoid overwatering as weakened plants are more readily subject to disease
and root rot.
- Dig out clumps of violets to bring indoors. Keep them cool.
If you've not pondered the idea, you might consider getting some chickens.
March is the ideal month to brood a few chicks (check local zoning for number
allowed in your area) to raise hens for egg laying, bug catching, and weeding.
(You'll need to keep them out of your tender starts though.)
If you want to spend time on the fun stuff, hire a landscape service to handle
the annual lawn cultivation and renewal project. ContractorNexus
can help you find a qualified service in your area.