March is when the gardening season increases in intensity, and deadlines loom: Seeds are started indoors and out, fruit trees are planted and pruned, and procrastination for building new garden beds has reached its limit. Yet the crisp, fresh air holds a steady hopefulness and excitement for a bountiful garden season. Here’s what you need to know to have a great spring garden.
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As a note, I’m in USDA hardiness zone 6a, so your gardening experience may differ from mine.
15 Minutes a Day
I like to set aside 15 minutes every day for gardening activities. This keeps gardening at the forefront of my mind and maintains it as a priority without requiring me to give up “real life” stuff.
Harvest from Under Protection Outdoors
- Beet family: beets, spinach, Swiss chard
- Cabbage family: collards, kale
Here are a few of the things you can be doing to get ready for the prime garden season ahead.
- Build new garden beds
- Construct garden infrastructure like rain catchment systems, fences, compost systems, etc.
- Prune existing fruit trees, bushes, and brambles.
- Add soil amendments like finished compost, worm castings, fresh or dried herbs, or aged manure to inactive gardens with a digging fork. See my article 9 Organic Amendments that Improve Soil for more ideas. Apply responsibly: Never apply soil amendments to frozen ground, over-saturated ground, or right before a large rain event.
- It’s the perfect time of year to improve soil.
Start Seeds Under Grow Lights
The following seeds can be started indoors. For details about starting seeds indoors, see my step-by-step guide. If you need to purchase seed starting materials, check out my reviews and recommendations for seed starting supplies.
- Alliums: leek, onion
- Cabbage Family: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, kale
- Try the De Ciccio broccoli variety. It is an heirloom variety that will continue producing side shoots all season, long after the main head has been harvested.
- I couldn’t grow a garden without kale, and I love all varieties. But my garden wouldn’t be complete without Lacinato kale. AKA dinosaur kale, this heirloom variety has flat leaves that are easy to clean.
- Herbs: basil, chives, echinacea, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sweet alyssum
- I am a big fan of Parris Island romaine. This is a common variety, but I love that romaine leaves are firm enough to handle a good washing, and I love that the heads are upright and don’t get caked with dirt like leaf lettuces can.
- Nightshade vegetables: eggplant, pepper, tomato
- Swiss chard
Start Seeds in a Cold Frame
If you’ve got a cold frame, this is the month to get stuff growing! (Please see my note above about hardiness zones.)
- Beet family: beet, spinach
- Why not try a beautiful rainbow blend of beets?
- Cabbage family: broccoli, kohlrabi, radish, turnip
- I love the mild French breakfast radish.
- I like the Red Core Chantenay variety because it grows well in clay soil. It is a stockier carrot that only grows to about 6 inches.
Sow Seeds Outside
The following can be planted and weather the early spring weather.
- Peas (Try Sugar Ann, the super early sugar snap pea!)
- Sweet Alyssum
Note: This year I am supporting the Sow True Seed company with my seed purchases for their efforts to promote “Open-Pollinated, Non-Hybrid & GMO-Free Seeds Featuring Heirloom, Organic & Traditional Varieties”.
- Fruit trees & Berry bushes
- Crimson red rhubarb is such a gorgeous plant!
- Strawberry plants
Weather dictates actions more than annual calendars. Some years I’m waiting until the snow melts to do a lot of these items, while other years Mother Nature has given the green light.
Do you want more tips for getting your garden season off to a good start?
You’ll find loads of information just like this in my book, The Suburban Micro-Farm. With your purchase you’ll get four FREE bonus materials to help you plan, schedule your planting, and track your records.
Are you having a good start to the gardening season? What do you have going on in March?