March Gardening Tips

The first real gardening month of the year is here. And this not being a leap year, be ready to “dig” in and prepare for those early plantings of potatoes, peas, and strawberries, as well as roses, ornamental bushes and trees. Here is a reminder of some of the chores to attend to in this busy month in the garden:

Now is the time to turn your compost pile. Start heating it up by turning it over and dampening it regularly.

Do not be tempted to remove all winter mulch from flower beds. Take mulch off gradually as plants grow to keep them protected from March’s sudden temperature fluctuations.

Begin planting tender tubers and bulbs such as gladiolus, dahlias, and lilies. For continuous blooms (that will make your neighbors jealous), plant additional bulbs every two weeks through mid June.

Soil preparation
Oil and gas up your rototiller, but don’t be too eager to tackle the garden plot until you are sure the soil is completely dry. Rototilling when wet will create clods that are hard to break up.

Yes. In March! Strike at the Mongol hordes while they are young, before they have a chance to go to seed and take over. Weeds gone to seed will haunt your flower beds for at least seven years. You might as well just break a mirror.

Stop and smell the witch hazel (genus Hamamelis). These spectacular yellow, red, and orange winter blooming bushes or small trees can put out an intoxicating scent reminiscent of orange and nutmeg detectable from many feet away. Some still may be blooming in early March. If you don’t have any nearby, check nurseries in your area. They are not always readily available, but many nurseries will order them for you if you ask. Plant them as soon as you can for beautiful blooms and scent in your yard next winter.