Get that Green Thumb Moving this March, no Matter where you Live!

Get that Green Thumb Moving this March, no Matter where you Live!

It may seem like this winter will never be over but, believe it or not, March is almost here. That means spring is coming, and your garden will soon be waking from its winter slumber. No matter where you live in the continental U.S., there are things you can do in March to jump-start your garden and prepare for beautiful blooms and delicious vegetables. Get the whole family involved, just like little Dylan in the photo above, for extra fun! From northern Maine to southern Florida, here’s your gardening guide for March.

Step 1: Determine your USDA Hardiness Zone

The USDA has organized the U.S. into numbered hardiness zones as a guide for gardeners and farmers to help determine things like planting times and which plant cultivars to choose. While hardiness zones run from 1 to 13, the continental U.S. only contains hardiness zones 3 to 10. Click here to learn about hardiness zones, and to find out which zone you live in, and then check out the list below to see what Organic Gardening Magazine recommends for boosting your garden this March. Happy gardening!

Zone 3 (e.g. Northern Minnesota, Northern Maine)

  1. Start seeds indoors under grow lights, and grow seedlings you can transplant into your garden later this spring. Good options include onions, tomatoes, marigolds, cauliflower, cabbage, and asters.
  2. If you’ve stored any bulbs over the winter, such as calla lilies or dahlias, pot them and set the pots in the light.
  3. Prune any non-spring-flowering shrubs on your property that have become overgrown.

Zone 4 (e.g. Southern Minnesota, Central Wisconsin, South Dakota)

  1. Start flower and vegetable seeds indoors under grow lights for later transplantation into your garden. Good options include eggplants, peppers, petunias, nicotiana and salvia.
  2. Leave the remaining mulch on last year’s perennials to prevent the sun from stimulating new growth which could be killed by the hard freezes that are probably still in store for your area.
  3. Transplant the seedlings you started last month into larger pots.

Zone 5 (e.g. Northern Illinois, Southern New Hampshire)

  1. Start vegetables and annual flowers from seed indoors under grow lights. Good options include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, onions, zinnias, and marigolds.
  2. Transplant any seedlings you started last month into larger pots.
  3. Trim ornamental grasses to a few inches above the ground to prepare for new growth.
  4. Plant frost-tolerant vegetables such as potatoes, lettuce, peas, carrots and radishes.

Zone 6 (e.g. Ohio, Central Kansas)

  1. Start seeds for vegetables and annual flowers indoors under grow lights. Good options include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, onions, larkspur, and cornflowers.
  2. Check the foliage on your spring-blooming bulbs, such as tulips, and free it if it’s become entangled in mulch.
  3. Plant frost-tolerant flowers and vegetables, such as potatoes, poppies, peas, and rocket larkspur.
  4. If you’ve been growing cold-tolerant seedlings indoors, such as cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, move the plants outside to a protected area.

Zone 7 (e.g. Tennessee, Eastern Virginia, Central Oklahoma)

  1. Transplant cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, shallots, collards, white potatoes, and asparagus crowns into the garden.
  2. Set out hardy potted herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and chives, but leave cold-sensitive basil indoors.
  3. Sow Swiss chard, leaf lettuces, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes and turnips in the middle of the month.

Zone 8 (e.g. Eastern North Carolina, Central Texas, Georgia)

  1. Plant squash, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers in mid-to-late March.
  2. Plant daisies, marigolds, petunias, carnations and snapdragons.
  3. Pull mulch away from your perennials, so that the warm sun can reach them.
  4. Sow beets, spinach, mustard, carrots, turnips, and broccoli early in the month.

Zone 9 (e.g. South Texas, Central Florida, some parts of Southern California)

  1. Check out xeriscaping to minimize your garden’s water needs, especially if you live in drought-stricken California.
  2. Feed your roses; Organic Gardening Magazine recommends a mixture of alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, and composted manure.
  3. Move your tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings outside to harden them off and prepare them for transplantation.
  4. Plant broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, and spinach.

Zone 10 (e.g. South Florida, Los Angeles)

  1. Check out xeriscaping to minimize your garden’s water needs, especially if you live in drought-stricken California.
  2. Plant sweet potatoes, okra, collards, mustard, cucumbers, and melons.
  3. Plant heat-tolerant flowers such as zinnias, petunias, caladium and cockscomb.
  4. Fertilize everything with a micronutrient spray at the end of the month.

Photo courtesy of Jerry.

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Get your garden ready for spring with these top March gardening ideas!
As the winter weather begins to fade, it's time to get started on some spring gardening. Check out this year's top March gardening ideas!