Your March Gardening Checklist: Get Ready For Spring Growth!

Your March Gardening Checklist: Get Ready For Spring Growth!

Spring is coming! March brings with it longer days, the spring equinox (Tue, Mar 19, 2024, 10:06 PM Central time), and that garden itch!

One word of caution—timing is everything. And there is such a thing as starting TOO early! Don’t make that mistake! I wanna help you stay patient!

For us gardeners, this month is jam-packed with to-dos: checking that seed-list, ordering seeds and setting up for indoor sowing. With as warm (and dry) as it’s been you might even be able to start prepping garden beds for early crops. And you’ll certainly wanna create a sowing schedule to keep you on track.

To keep things manageable, I've divided this March Checklist into two categories: indoor- and outdoor- activities. So no matter the fluctuating weather, cold or warm, you can still make progress toward your garden goals. Read on for tips!

Indoor To- Dos

  • Germ test old seeds. Before you throw out last year's seeds, perform an informal germination test at home-- even 10 seeds will give you useful information. Place a paper towel in a sealable container. Layout and space your seeds. Mist until paper towel is moist but not soggy. Seal, leave at room temp, and watch based on 'Days to germination' on the seed packet. 
  • Order seed starting supplies-- get young plants off to a good start with our durable seed starting trays and garden supplies.
  • Order seeds that need to be started indoors. Don't delay: order tomatoespepperseggplant, onions, herbs and flowers with a long growing season now.
  • Order spring planted bulbs, tubers, and root stock.
  • Time your sowings. Just follow these easy instructions from our archives. 
  • Order row cover and hoops! Always keep in mind, the average last frost is not a guaranteed last frost. Protect your seedlings from fickle weather and garden pests by using row cover early.
  • Plan for trellising and vertical gardening! This will help you maximize space and sunlight—a precious resource for many gardeners. View some trellising  suggestions in our archives.

Garden clipboard tracking progress at Prairie Road Organic Seed

Outdoor Focus

  • Prepare your planting containers. You may have received advice about ‘sterilizing’ your containers with a 10% bleach solution. We don’t advocate that unless you had disease problems in those containers. Bleaching kills off the good bacteria with the bad, leaving a vacuum, which can actually encourage disease. We recommend dry brushing or soaking to remove any crusted dirt.
  • Sharpen hand tools with a file or have them professionally sharpened by a local service.
  • Prune fruit trees, deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Care for your soil. Avoid compacting your garden soil by walking on it when it’s wet. If you have to be in the garden while it’s wet, using a wooden plank to walk or kneel on can help distribute your weight instead of all of your weight being concentrated in two footprints, leading to compaction where you walk.
  • AND before digging, WAIT until your soil is workable, i.e., not frozen, wet, or soggy. Digging before the soil is ready can result in compacted soil structure with lumps and clods. This can be hard to remedy!
  • Watch for early, cold tolerant weeds that like to take advantage of the barren landscape. They'll take off when there’s no competition. Suffocate weeds with cardboard, newspapers, or landscaping fabric before they take over.
  • Finally, boost soil fertility ahead of spring plantings by adding compost. Don’t do this too far ahead of planting to avoid nutrients leaching away with spring rains or pooling water from late snow melts.
  • Plan ahead for direct sowing cool-loving crops as soon when soil can be worked:  Spinach, Peas, Arugula, Radishes, and onions. If you're growing peas, don't forget to plan for trellising.

If this list doesn't keep you busy enough, you can also--

  • build new raised beds,
  • ‘frame’ your garden by setting up trellises and arches,
  • clean out those birdhouses or build new ones
  • feed spring bulbs with a fresh layer of compost as they emerge
  • or plant some 'new to you' ones!

Or, if you’re pressed for time and this checklist overwhelms you, remember that gardening is totally scalable! It can be as simple as a few pots of herbs, a container garden, a small raised bed just steps away from your kitchen, to several raised beds, to an in-ground garden, to a 5 acre homestead! Use the time and resources you have and choose just one or two goals that fit your schedule.

Happy March!

Your garden coach,