March Garden Chores

Weather in March can be quite unpredictable! It’s like going on vacation as a kid and asking, “Are we there yet?!”

For gardening in March, you want to be nimble and quick for certain tasks, but patient with others. Don’t be fooled by abnormal warm days. Start too soon, and work/expense may be lost due to weather. Don’t be fooled by spouts of cold weather or snow. Act too late, and certain garden tasks may be more difficult, or get the garden behind.

Perhaps some of these tasks will need to wait until April, but it’s time to at least begin some of these.

  • Wait for several days of 50 degree weather before cleaning up the garden. Many pollinators are triggered to get moving after several days of consistently warm weather. If the garden gets cleaned up too early, the pollinators mistakenly get cleaned up too!
  • If you’re a vegetable gardener and like to start seeds indoors, it’s time to get prepared. Purchase seeds, order transplants (like onions or potatoes), seed starting trays and soil, grow lights, etc. You want to start seeds no more than 4-6 weeks before planting outdoors.
  • Plant edible peas and sweet pea flowers. If it gets very cold after planting, cover the seedlings to retain heat in the soil. Peas like the cold weather!
  • Spread poppy seeds outdoors in the garden. They need the freeze/warm cycle to germinate.
  • Push back plant debris in areas where there are early spring flowers or bulbs. This will allow the soil to warm up faster and sunlight to reach the plants.
  • Cut down last year’s growth on grasses. Grasses begin to green out relatively early. You want to avoid cutting the new growth, so cut down the brown stalks before the plants begin growing again.
  • Prune down old raspberry and blackberry canes.
  • Cut down old stalks of early plants, like the Autumn Joy sedums. They will be easier to clean up at this point.
  • Plan tending to plants that need dividing or transplanting. This is best done in spring when there’s more rain, cooler temps, and the plants are actively growing.
  • Clean out any old nests in bird houses. The birds are anxious to have their clutches!
  • Test the lawn mower. At least in my area I can tell the grass is already beginning to grow. Nothing is worse than having to get the lawn mower fixed in spring or having to purchase one last minute. A growing lawn has no remorse!