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March Gardening Tips

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Landscaping Tips

  • Spring is almost here. March should be one of the busiest months in your garden. If you have trees or shrubs to transplant, March & April are the last good months to do it before October. Plants from containers can be installed year-round, but moving an established plant should happen when the roots are still relatively dormant and soils haven't dried out.
  • March is also a good time to fertilize your plants. Plants need nutrients now during their growth spurt. Plant, transplant, feed & clean up your yard & garden. Thin overcrowded branches to improve air circulation, which will also help plants, stay healthy by reducing fungal infections.
  • Rejuvenate stored fuchsias and geraniums by repotting, fertilizing & watering. Bring them into bright light with protection from late freezes. Keep them indoors for a while yet.
  • It's time to kill the moss. Use a finer powdered moss kill iron like Nu-life.
  • You can thatch, aerate and overseed after about the middle of the month if needed. Over seeding is best if done in March & April. Grass germinates best in these two months. Thatch if old roots and stems at crown level exceed one-half inch. Check bare spots in your lawn at night for crane fly larva or dig up a 6x6 inch patch of grass and soil and thoroughly pull it apart. If you find more then six of the crane fly larva then consider a lawn treatment. There are a few treatments available to homeowners but a good healthy lawn can withstand 10-12 larvas per 6x6 inch patch. When you mow your lawn, cut no more then 1/3 of its total growth in one cutting. You can also apply your first spring lawn feeding late in the month.
  • Fertilize your trees, shrubs and spring bulbs. Shear hedges, and apply organic fertilizer to early bulbs after blooming. Most flowering shrubs are best pruned right after the blossom, but check a good pruning book to make sure. If your rhodies are overgrown or leggy do a heavy pruning right after they complete their blooming. You can also divide perennials that bloom after mid-June.
  • Finish winter cleanups and check for insects and disease on trees and shrubs. Turn & spread compost in 2-3 inch layers. This month is a good month to add mulch or bark.
  • If you have access to the Internet the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Office has a fantastic web site at Check it out. Also for gardening questions try the master gardening hot line at (206) 296-3440.

Vegetable Garden

Consider growing open-pollination heirloom varieties and save your own seed. Unlike hybrids, plants pollinated naturally by insects or wind reliably reproduce similar plants the following year. Start with peas, lettuce beans or peppers. Dig garden beds deeply. Add fertilizer or compost. Build up your soil with about two wheelbarrows of compost and four cups of balanced fertilizer per 100 square feet. Turn under cover crops in the vegetable garden before they go to seed or get too old & big. Peas, radishes, turnips, mustard, spinach, chard, lettuce seedlings, broccoli and cabbage transplants can be planted now. Smaller Cole crops seedlings are less likely to bolt. Start transplants of warm weather crops indoors for April & May plantings.

Children's Garden

Plant "Pink Panda" strawberries. Soak pea seeds indoors to watch, plant in containers, and then set them out just as they sprout. Peas are an early season crop but subject to frost so use care if frost is expected. Plant pumpkin seeds indoors - find a warm, very light place for the pot. Choose a smaller cultivar like "Jack Be Little" (Only 3 inches across!) or "Baby Bear". Cut out a pumpkin picture and prop it against the seed container. Let your child have a smaller garden of their own in your bigger garden or flower bed.