Everything you need to do for a great growing season ahead

Planting season has arrived! It’s warm, gentle rain is coming, and we are itching to get our hands in some dirt. March kicks off planting season and now is the time to get cold-resistant crops in the ground and start planning ahead for the rest of the season.

Don’t miss our February garden checklist if you need to play a bit of catch-up.

The longer days and shorter nights will stimulate your houseplants and get them growing again after a more dormant winter. If you have any that need repotting, now is the time to do so. It would also be helpful to give them a good feeding with some added nutrients.

March is also the time to start some later-season transplants: tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Aim to get those seeds started by the 15th so you have plenty of growing time before they are put in the ground in May.

It would also be wise to start a garden notebook for the year. List everything that you plant in the garden, including the name of the seed company, plant name, variety, planting date, and harvest date. Keep notes throughout the growing season so you can refer back to them next season.

By the end of March, begin hardening off your onion, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts outside—particularly any new plants that are at least 5 weeks old. Select smaller rather than larger plants of these cold-weather crops as overly mature plants tend to bolt if exposed to low temperatures early in the season.

Now is also the time to direct sow carrots, Swiss chard, peas, collards, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, onions, parsley, parsnips, beets, radishes, and spinach. You can also plant new beds of bare-root asparagus and strawberries for reliable perennials that will return year-after-year.

If you have other perennials planted from last year, remove any winter protection that you had in place by mid-March. Pull back mulch from any existing strawberry and asparagus beds so they can push through easily as they regrow. If you have grapes, raspberries, or blueberries growing, give them an added boost with a gentle, natural, nitrogen fertilizer.

Give your compost pile a good turn or two on warm-weather days. Or, if you haven’t started a compost pile yet, start one—you’ll be cutting back on food waste and doing your soil a favor.

Finally, place a birdhouse or two outside as birds will begin looking for nesting sites soon.

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