March is a strange month for gardeners. Some days feel like the winter is far behind us. Other days feel like winter will never leave. This year in particular has already been a strange end to the winter, so I am playing it safe where I can. Because of the bipolar weather, we are holding out on planting outside. Whether you believe it or not, spring will soon be here and we need to be ready. These are the March garden chores in our Georgia garden.
Keep in mind that we are in the fairly mild climate sitting on the border of 7b and 8a. We get some freezing weather but nothing compared to more northern climates.
March is a big month of trimming
plant cool season annuals
It’s time to get the first flowers in the ground for an early punch of color. Plants like pansies, violas, sweet peas, alyssum, and snapdragons can take the cooler weather so get them in the ground this month.
prune evergreens and roses
Give your evergreen shrubs like boxwood and holly their first trims of the year. Hand prune boxwood to let light reach thinner areas. Hollies and roses can be pruned fairly heavily and will recover quickly through the spring.
cut back grasses, perennials, and hydrangeas.
Many gardeners like to keep winter interest in the garden by letting hydrangea, ornamental grasses, and many perennial blooms stay on through the winter without trimming or deadheading. Now is the time to finally cut them back and say goodbye for a few weeks until the spring temperatures cause them to flush out. (photo by Jellaluna)
cut back liriope.
Trim back last years leaves, which likely look pretty torn up after the winter. For larger areas, you can use a mower set to the highest level. Be careful not to trim off any of the new growth.
Divide and conquer
Carefully divide hostas as the first leaves begin to emerge by splitting them with a sharp shovel or knife. The replanted divisions will have plenty of time to fill out through the spring.
repot overgrown houseplants.
especially those that will be moved outside.
plant bare root roses, shrubs, and trees before the buds break.
Get bare root woody plants in the ground as soon as possible. This gives them time to establish a strong root system before the rigors of the growing season begin.
plant potatoes towards the end of the month.
Potatoes can take a little bit of frost but not a hard freeze. Wait until you are safely past the hard freezes and until the ground dries out. The end of March is usually a good target.
start seeds indoors:
Get these seeds started indoors for a huge head start on the growing season:
basil, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, okra, peppers, squash, tomato, tomatillo, and annual flowers.
direct seed in the garden:
Start planting these cool season crops:
beets, collards, kale, and onions
Feed those hungry plants
Fertilize your spring bulbs and shrubs.
spread organic fertilizer as directed around spring bulbs as they start to emerge and shrubs as they start to break buds and leaf out.
There is plenty to keep you busy this month. Come April, hopefully, these winter temperatures will be long behind us, and our gardens will be filled with flowers and vegetables once again.