March Checklist

  • Till or turn the vegetable garden soil when it’s at the proper moisture level.
  • Add lime to lawns and gardens only when a soil test recommends it.
  • Sow seeds of dahlia, snapdragon, verbena, leaf lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli indoors.
  • Use dormant oils to combat scale insects and mites when the temperature is above 40 degrees (F) and when freezing temperatures are not predicted for a few days, and before the buds begin to open.
  • For a full-sun border, try mixing colors of perennial coneflower and Shasta daisy with annual globe amaranth. Place the taller coneflower toward the rear of the bed and Shasta daisy toward the front, with the globe amaranth mixed in between.
  • Rake and remove debris form the lawn when it’s dry.
  • Have the lawn mower serviced and the blade sharpened.
  • Remove dead asparagus shoots from last year’s growth.
  • If you want to raise fruit in your garden, try raspberries, or strawberries. It is much less difficult to succeed with them than with tree fruits, and you’ll get much faster results.
  • Prune raspberries, fruit trees and summer-flowering shrubs early in the month when the temperature is above freezing.
  • If the soil dries out against a house under the eaves where rain rarely reaches, water well during a thaw to prevent loss of plants.
  • Sow grass seed as soon as possible.
  • Pinch off early buds from developing pansies to encourage plants to branch and form more buds.
  • Cut back the dried foliage of ornamental grasses.
  • Particularly good choices for your cutting garden are phlox, daisy, dahlia, cosmos, aster, gladiolus, and lily.
  • Have your garden and lawn soils tested to determine nutrient and pH levels.
  • Start broccoli, cabbage and other cabbage family crops indoors by the middle of the month. They should be planted outdoors between the middle and end of April.
  • Check stored bulbs, tubers, and corms. Discard any that are soft or diseased.
  • Check any vegetables you have in storage. Use or dispose of any that show signs of shriveling or rotting.
  • Many herbs including chives, parsley, and thyme are also well-suited to baskets.
  • Plant pea and spinach seeds, and onion, shallot and garlic sets on St. Patrick’s day, weather permitting.
  • Branches of forsythia, pussy willow, spirea, and dogwood can be forced for indoor bloom. Make long, slanted cuts when collecting the branches and place the stems in a vase of water. Change the water every four days. They should bloom in about three weeks.
  • Mulch heaved perennials; replant them when the weather is more settled.
  • Late winter is the time to prune many deciduous trees. Look over your plants now and remove dead, dying, unsightly parts of the tree, sprouts growing at or near the base of the tree trunk, crossed branches, and V-shaped crotches.
  • Repot and begin fertilizing houseplants.
  • Avoid walking on grass or ground covers while they are frozen.
  • Place seed potatoes either in full sunlight or under fluorescent lights until it’s time to plant them at mid April. This will produce quicker rooting and up to three weeks earlier harvest.
  • Fertilize woody plants and fruit trees.
  • Keep the bird feeder filled.
  • Enjoy the early spring season!

Adapted from “Seeds of Hope… Harvest of Pride!” – Gardener’s Checklist, www.bright.net/~gardens/index.html