March can be snowy in the region, but spring isn't far off. Jump into the garden season with these tasks to ready the landscape and garden for flowers, vegetables, and other plantings.
Leaf Disposal and Tool Care -- Get started on spring garden clean-up. Rake and dispose of leaves, pull obvious weeds, and spruce up hand tools and power tools. Before planting outdoors, make sure soil is workable. If it's too wet, you risk destroying soil texture and causing hard clods to form.
Tuck bare-root roses into planting beds. Soak roses for up to 24 hours before planting. After planting, heap compost around canes to protect from freezing. Remove compost by the last frost date for your area.
Sow seeds of cool-season vegetables, such as beets, carrots, lettuces, peas, radishes, spinach, and turnips. Sow seeds of brightly tinted Swiss chard to give your food garden -- and dinner plate -- some cheery color.
About midmonth plant seed potatoes, onion sets, and shallots. It's also a good time to get rhubarb or asparagus crowns into soil.
Test Garden Tip: Many wildflower seeds germinate in early spring's chill. Scatter seeds where you want plants to establish. Choose bloomers such as annual coreopsis, mountain phlox, Texas bluebonnet, and California desert bluebells.
You can help ensure a strong repeat performance next year. Don't remove foliage until it ripens fully and turns brown. While leaves and blooms are present, scratch a slow-release fertilizer into soil around bulbs and water it in. If bulbs fail to appear this spring, they could have rotted in wet soil or been the meal of a hungry rodent. They'll have to be replaced in the fall. Look for plump, firm bulbs and choose varieties that tend to be pest-resistant.
Continue to deep-water landscape plants whenever the ground isn't frozen. Water once every three to four weeks, soaking soil to a depth of 3-4 inches.
Test Garden Tip: Keep bird feeders stocked this month. March is frequently one of the snowiest months at higher elevations, and food is scarce for feathered friends.
Test Garden Tip: Apply a season-long insect control to shrubs and trees typically plagued by pests. For effective scale control, spray dormant oil by midmonth on woody plants.
Test Garden Tip: Invest in root zone heating mats if you start seeds, tropical roots, tubers, and bulbs indoors while the air is still chilly outside. Providing steady bottom heat warms soil, which coaxes seeds and roots to grow quickly.