There’s all those lovely quotes about March “coming in like a lion” and, of course, The Great Rodent DID predict an early spring…The National Weather Service has something different to say about Phil’s predictions, but either way…March is here, lions, rodents and bitter cold notwithstanding.
Activities in your garden for March include:
- Plan the vegetable garden carefully for spring, summer, and fall vegetables that can be eaten fresh or preserved. If you lack in-ground gardening space, plan an outdoor container garden.
- Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to plant vegetables. Some cool season crops (onions, kale, lettuce, and spinach) can be planted when the soil is consistently at or above 40°F.
Maintenance and Clean Up
- Lawn care: set blade at 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
- Compost grass clippings and yard waste, except for clippings from lawns where weed-and-feed products or herbicides (weed killers) have been used.
- Spread compost over garden and landscape areas.
- Prune gooseberries and currants; fertilize with manure or compost.
- If needed, fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas with acid-type fertilizer. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs after blossoms fade.
- Fertilize caneberries (broadcast or band a complete fertilizer or manure).
- Divide hosta, daylilies, and mums.
- Plant insectary plants (e.g. Alyssum, Phacelia, coriander, candytuft, sunflower, yarrow, and dill) to attract beneficial insects to the garden.
- If your soil is dry enough, prepare vegetable garden and plant early cool-season crops (carrots, beets, broccoli, leeks, parsley, chives, rhubarb, peas, and radish). Plant onions outdoors as soon as the soil is dry enough to work.
- Plant berry crops (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, and other berry-producing crop plants).
Pest Monitoring and Management
- Spray trees and shrubs for webworms and leafrollers, if present.
- Protect new plant growth from slugs. Least toxic management options include barriers and traps. Baits are also available for slug control; iron phosphate baits are safe to use around pets. Read and follow all label directions prior to using baits or any other chemical control.
- Learn to identify the predatory insects that can help keep aphids and other pests under control.
- Prune ornamentals for air circulation and to help prevent fungus diseases.
- Start rose blackspot control tactics at budbreak. Control rose diseases such as black spot. Remove infected leaves. Spray as necessary with a baking soda, Ivory soap and water solution or, if you must, a registered fungicide..
- Monitor for European crane fly and treat lawns if damage has been verified.
- Monitor landscape plants for problems. Don’t treat unless a problem is identified.
- Preventative pest management is emphasized over reactive pest control. Identify and monitor problems before acting, and opt for the least toxic approach that will remedy the problem.
- First consider cultural, and then physical controls. Biological remedies (predators, parasitoids) should be favored over the purchase and release of pesticides and chemicals.
- Least-toxic choices include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides, organic and synthetic pesticides — when used judiciously.
Houseplants and Indoor Gardening
- Trim or shear heather when bloom period is finished.
- Start tuberous begonias indoors.
- It’s time to take your geraniums, begonias, and fuchsias out of storage. Water and fertilize. Cut back if necessary. Move outdoors next month.