University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
AND OTHER MARCH GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
arugula and other greens, spraying horticultural oil on fruit trees,
trimming back ornamental grasses are some of the gardening
activities for this
get an early harvest of arugula and other greens, dig out a large
container and sow some seeds. Grow them indoors until the weather
to put them outside during the day. Keep cutting leaves from the
outside of the
plants to prolong the harvest. Or you can sow seeds for a mesclun
mix and cut
off the leaves when still young. They will regrow for another
harvest in a few
weeks. Look for seeds to sow and grow
quickly just for sprouts.
days may tempt you into removing winter mulch but wait a bit longer.
could have snow and some very cold nights, and plants still need
The freeze and thaw cycles of early spring can damage plants that
a cold winter.
horticultural oil on fruit trees, such as apples, plums, and
smother any overwintering insects. Choose a calm day when
above 40 degrees (F), and be sure to cover all sides of the
branches. You also can
apply it to evergreens to control spider mites and other insects.
follow the instructions on the label for proper usage and
the old stalks from ornamental grasses before new growth begins or
off new growth when you prune. For large plants, you may need to use
trimmers or a pruning saw. Also, don’t cut too low or you may
year’s growing points. Cut to at least 6
inches (12 inches or more is best), above the crown. It may help to
tie the stalks of larger
plants together before you cut. If possible, chop the stalks before
adding them to the
compost pile or using them as mulch so they will decompose more
that sprout from the base of crabapple trees and other fruiting
trees will rob
the trees of energy needed to form fruit, so don't let them grow
Pull them off if possible because this reduces their regrowth more
them, but use whatever method you need to remove them.
to start seeds of tomato plants until next month. A common mistake
is to sow them indoors too
early, resulting in leggy plants by the time they can be set outside
May. You should start seeds of cole
crops (broccoli, cabbage and the like) indoors now. Sow
slow-growing flowers such as pansies, begonias, and vinca early in
month. Sow verbena, petunias, geranium,
and impatiens later in the month.
Unless you have a sunny window
much of the day, adding grow lights over seedlings will help. These
can be turned on (a timer such as you
find at hardware stores is very convenient) during the darker parts
of day or evening,
to give plants 12 to 16 hours of good light a day.
activities for this month include starting begonia tubers, cutting
early-flowering shrubs (such as pussy willow and forsythia) for
indoors, taking your mower in for a tune-up, attending flower shows
gardening seminars, and visiting a maple sugarhouse.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).