“March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away.”
– Thalassa Cruso
MARCH IS A REAL TRANSITION MONTH across much of the country. It can be the start of the garden bed cleanup or still deep in winter. But for gardeners, it is the month of hope-the stirring of another spring.
INDOORS sow seeds for cool weather crops-first onions and leeks-then cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and kohlrabi. Follow the recommendations for your zone.
HOUSEPLANTS ARE AWAKE again, motivated to grow by longer days and stronger light. They will need more moisture and an occasional half-strength fertilizing.
IF YOU HAVE a cold frame, sow an early crop of spinach and lettuce. In fact, you can start spinach in the open ground if snow has melted.
AROUND ST. PATRICK’S DAY, or as soon after as soil can be worked, sow peas. Lettuce can follow shortly, along with radishes.
OUTDOORS after the snow has melted; it is time for garden cleanup. Once soil drains, pull and dig up perennial weeds now, before they get a foothold. Prune dead material out of dormant plants. After some sunny, dry days, rake snow mold off lawns. Empty bird boxes of old nests.
PRIME PRUNING TIME for deciduous trees and shrubs (including fruit trees) is now, while they are dormant. Always use sharp tools to make clean cuts, and remove dead, damaged, or diseased wood. Remove suckers and water sprouts, too.
FEED SPRING BULBS with an appropriate all-natural organic fertilizer as green tips push through the ground.
USE YOUR JOURNAL, calendar or notebook to record timing of tasks, successes and failures, and other noteworthy information. If you have never kept garden records before, I highly recommend that you start. Documenting when and where and what did and didn’t work can save you a lot of headaches and help you to materialize your ideal garden.
After a long winter it is comforting to touch the soil again and feel its life giving, soul soothing grains.