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Garden Tasks for March

All of the flowers of all the tomorrows
are in the seeds of today.
- Indian Proverb


  • Start seeds of slow-growing annuals indoors for summer blooms.

  • Take cuttings from plants wintered indoors, such as geraniums, begonias, and impatiens, for use in outdoor beds.

  • Prepare beds by adding organic matter, lime, and fertilize with “Osmocote” as-needed

  • Plant cold-resistant flowers, such as pansies and violas, at the end of the month.

Perennials and bulbs

  • Remove winter mulch and begin soil preparation as weather permits

  • Apply fertilizer, such as “Plant Tone” or “Osmocote” to all planting beds as-needed.

  • Divide and replant overgrown perennials not divided in the fall.

Vegetables and Herbs

  • Sow peppers, celery, and tomato seeds in flats indoors on a bright windowsill or under lights.

  • Start seeds of early varieties of tomatoes indoors so that you'll be first on the block to pick ripe ones. Plant a few extra seeds for insurance.

  • Late in the month, direct-seed cold tolerant vegetables, such as a spinach, peas and radishes and set out transplants of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and onion sets.

  • Finish and garden cleanup left from fall and prepare soil for planting.

  • Apply fertilizers and compost to beds if soil and weather allow.

Patio and Container Plants

  • Bring summer bulbs out of storage for planting

  • Start potting frost-tolerant plants such as pansies and violas.

  • Plant small containers indoors and let plants become established before placing outdoors.

  • Pinch back straggly growth and take cuttings

Tree and Shrubs

  • Remove supports from trees that have been in the ground a year.

  • After forsythias, spirea or other fountain-shade, early-blossoming shrubs have flowered, cut 1/3 of the oldest canes to the ground.

  • Apply fertilizer, such as “Tree Tone” to all plants as soon as growth starts.

  • Apply "Dormant Oil" to lilacs, before leaves appear, to prevent scale infestation.


  • As leaf buds swell and open, remove winter protection from bushes.

  • Prune shrub and tea roses. Remove any dead canes from climbing roses.

  • Water deeply and apply a complete slow release fertilizer such as “Rose Tone.”


  • Rake and mow before green-up to remove leaves and winter debris

  • Correct grade in soggy areas

  • Aerate to improve air, water and nutrient movement; over-seed with a variety suitable for this area. Apply “Crabicide Green.

  • Keep moist until seed sprouts, up to four-six weeks

 Adapted from Reader's Digest "1001 Hints and Tips for your Garden," 1998.