March is a confusing month in the Pacific Northwest. The bulbs are coming out of the ground, the hellebores are in full bloom, and the weather can change from hour to hour. This is the time when I am back in the greenhouse full time, sowing seeds. Here are my “gardening by month” tips for March. These are based on my zone 8, with a last frost date of April 18th. If you live in a different zone, make sure you confirm the frost dates in your area and plan accordingly.
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Garden Planting in March
This is a great time to start dividing and transplanting both summer and fall flowering perennials. These can include phlox, black-eyed Susan’s, daylillies, astilbe, shasta daisies, asters and sedum. What’s great about dividing your plants is that you can fill your garden with “free” plants, or give some of your divided plants to a friend for their garden. I started out with just one shasta daisy, and one black-eyed Susan plant. Now I have at least 15 or 20 of each.
Plant primroses and pansies. I plant these flowers around the garden and in containers to brighten up the yard. What I love about these flowers, is that I have had wonderful luck with both primroses and pansies come back the following year. I’ll usually grab some primroses from Costco, and put them in a container. Then when they start dying back, and the weather starts warming up, I’ll transplant them into the ground. Then they should come back the following year.
Sow seeds for sweet peas, peas, asparagus, rhubarb and artichokes. You can plant strawberries and blueberries as well.
Seeds should be sown indoors this month. My plan is to have all my flower seeds planted by mid-month. For more tips on sowing seeds, visit my blog post Seed Starting Basics.
Last fall, I transplanted all my geraniums that were in outdoor containers, and stored them in my greenhouse for winter. I will be cutting starts and planting them around the first day of spring. That should give the starts enough time to root before planting them outside for the season. I’ll be writing a post on this when I am going through the process.
Monthly Maintenance In the Garden
Finish pruning fruit trees and grape vines.
I gradually pull winter mulch from my garden beds, as plants show signs of new growth. It is so important to acclimate your plants, removing the mulch over a period of several days.
Prune your roses, if you haven’t already done so. It’s a good time to feed them as well.
Weed and Pest Control
Now is the time to weed your garden, before they have a chance to flower, and go to seed. In areas that do not have any plants or lawn, you can spray vinegar to kill weeds. This option works best for us, since we live so close to the water.
Rain brings slugs and snails, so control them by eliminating their hiding places. Clean up leaves, and use some slug bait around your most susceptible plants.
I have learned this the hard way, but deer love tulips. Pick a day when it is not raining or windy, and spray some Liquid Fence. This smells like rotten eggs, but seriously does the job!
I hope you learned a thing or two after reading my “gardening by month” tips for the month of March. It’s such a fun time to tour the garden each day, and see what new blooms come up out of the ground. I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment for me.
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