March Garden Chores

gardening tips

Garden Tips and March Schedule of Tasks:

Chores The Month Of March

What to do in early spring

Draw up garden plans, if you haven’t already.Turn up earth in the vegetable garden, add amendmentsReady Mowers,Tillers, Weed whackers for use.
Make garden budget for the seasonClear away perennial garden debris.Purchase any needed tools for the season’s tasks.
Make a garden journal as a permanent place for your plans.Plant cool season crops. Care for indoor seedlings.Put tripods, tuteurs, trellises in place.
Purchase trees for planting.Prime perennial planting time. Divide older perennials.Sharpen tool blades such as secateurs and hoes.
Plan for fall bulb purchases by noting spring blooms now.Check the germination rate of old seeds before planting.Organize tool storage

Mulch in dry weather: Be sure to leave the mulch covering everything through this month. Even when it is tempting to pull it aside on a sunny day, it should be kept in place until we are past the frosts. This is especially true for roses; they will grow happily beneath the protective mulch during this time.

Check for frost-heaved plants, reset them in the ground.


Clematis: Cut back all growth to a pair of strong buds 6-8in (15-20cm) above soil level, before growth begins in early spring. This is for type 2 and 3 which are the late flowering types such as C. Jackmanii.

If you have Clematis montana, or a spring flowering type 1, do minimal pruning of dead parts only and renovate cutting back 6-12in from the base after flowering.

Frost dates in Ohio:

  • Akron- May 21
  • Columbus- May 9
  • Cincinnati- April 29
  • Dayton- April 27
  • Toledo- May 16
  • Cleveland- May 18
  • Frost Dates in Ohio

Remember: if shrubs bloom in spring on old wood, wait til after blooming to prune; if they bloom on new wood, you can prune them now.


Many parts of Ohio have clay soil, and it is often very wet in March, so check the soil before digging, cultivating, tilling. Simply make a little ball of it in your palm- if it wads up and sticks together it is too wet, if it is still fairly crumbly- you can work the soil.

Garden tip: if you add amendments such as compost, peatmoss, gypsum, it makes the soil more friable and less compact. Raised beds are sometimes helpful to allow better drainage when one has wet heavy soils.

Remember that heavy soil, if worked too early, will have clods of compacted soil that are hard to break up all season. Friable soil is necessary for successful seed starting. Rake the ground smooth after tilling or spading up.

Lawns can be seeded once the ground is thawed.

Have your soil tested or do-it-yourself with a soil testing kit. A few selected test kits available on Amazon:

This way you can figure just what fertilizers and amendments you need for the season.

creating a garden

You might like these pages: Improve Your Soil | A Better Garden | What You Need To Know To Create A Garden

You can order beneficial insects now:

  • Ladybugs to control aphids.
  • Beneficial nematodes to protect root crops.
  • Green Lacewings eggs
  • Trichogramma wasps control many damaging insects.

Check these helpful organic pest controls available at Amazon:


Time to pull out the tools and make sure everything is in good working order. Tune ups for mowers, replacement blades, etc.

Do you have the tools you will need to garden with this season? Tool Checklist.

Flower Bulbs

Your fall-planted bulbs are flowering this month, so be sure to give them a shot of fertilizer as they are starting to show growth and bloom.

flower bulbs

You might like these pages: Tulips and Daffodils | The Tulips | The Little Bulbs

Vegetable planting:

Beets, broccoli plants, cabbage plants, chard, kale, radish, spinach, turnips, and lettuce in the second half of the month.

Garden tip: Mark the rows by stretching a string tightly strung between two stakes along each seed furrow. Lettuce is often good in blocks of seeding.

vegetable gardening

You might like these pages: Grow Your Own Food | The Kitchen Garden | Steps To Make An Herb Garden

Annuals to plant now

Hardy annuals can be direct sown into the garden. Be sure your sweet peas are in by St. Pat’s Day (March 17 ), and Shirley poppies benefit from a light frost or two- so seed them in now.

Here is a large list of annuals to try:
I have personally tried a number on this list- Violas (Johnny Jumps Ups) are successfully planted now; Nigella and many of the others, as well, but some I can’t vouch for. I have a page of much more info on annuals for further insights.

If you have not purchased the seeds earlier in the year (usually January), some of these may be hard to source locally. Another reason to create a garden plan in winter months, and then order seeds while your favorites are still available.


You might like these pages: List of My Favorite Annuals | Best Choices for Annuals | Color Theory for Annuals


This is a good month to plant bare root roses


You might like these pages: The Rose Page | General Info for Roses & Rose Gardening Tips


In Ohio, some of the listed “annuals” are actually perennials grown as annuals. Southern states offer a chance to grow some, like Violas and pansies, during the winter months.

  • Agrostemma githago (Corn cockle)
  • Amberboa moschata (Sweet sultan)
  • Anagallis indica (Blue pimpernel)
  • Anchusa (Bugloss)
  • Alyssum maritimum (Sweet alyssum)
  • Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragons)
  • Asperula azurea (Woodruff)
  • Brachycome iberidifolia (Swan river daisy)
  • Browallia demissa (Bush violet)
  • Bupleurum rotundifolium (Ox-eye daisy)
  • Calendula (Pot marigold)
  • Callistephus (China aster)
  • Campanula (annual Canterbury bells)
  • Celosia (cockscomb), Centaurea (Cornflower)
  • Centranthus macrosiphon (Valerian)
  • Chrysanthemum paludosum (Mini-marguerite)
  • Clarkia elegans
  • Collinsia bicolor (Chinese-houses)
  • Consolida ajacis (Larkspur)
  • Convolvulus (dwarf/bush morning glory)

  • Coreopsis tintoria (Calliopsis)
  • Cosmos bipinnatus (Tall cosmos)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (Sulphur cosmos)
  • Cynoglossum (Chinese forget-me-not)
  • Datura species (Thorn-apple)
  • Delphinium (Larkspur)
  • Dianthus chinensis (China pinks)
  • Diascia barberm (Twinspur)
  • Dimorphotheca aurantiaca (Cape marigold)
  • Eschschlotzia californica (California poppy)
  • Felicia bergeriana (Kingfisher daisy)
  • Gaillardia pulchella (Blanket flower)
  • Gilia (Bird’s-eye)
  • Godetia (Farewell-to-spring)
  • Gypsophila (Baby’s breath)
  • Helianthus (Sunflowers)
  • Helipterum (Everlastings)
  • Hunnemannia fumariifolia (Mexican tulip poppy)
  • Iberis (Candytuft)
  • Impatiens (Balsam)
  • Ionopsidium acaule (False diamond-flower)
  • Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet peas)
  • Lavatera (Annual mallow)
  • Limnanthes douglasii (Poached-egg plant)
  • Limonium sinuatum (Statice)
  • Linaria bipartita (Toadflax)
  • Linum (Flax)
  • Lobularia (Alyssum)
  • Lupinus (Lupine)
  • Lychnis (Catchfly)
  • Malcomia maritima (Virginian stock)
  • Malva (Mallow)
  • Matthiola bicornis (night-scented stock)
  • Mesembryanthemum (Ice-plant)
  • Myosotis dissitiflora (Forget-me-not)
  • Nemesia strumosa (Cape jewels)
  • Nemophila (Baby blue-eyes)
  • Nicotiana (Flowering tobacco)
  • Nigella (Love-in-the-mist)
  • Osteospermum (Star of the Veldt)
  • Papaver (poppy)
  • Phlox drummondii (Drummond phlox)
  • Portulaca grandiflora (Portulaca, Moss rose)
  • Reseda odorata (Mignonette)
  • Rudbeckia bicolor (Gloriosa daisy)
  • Scabiosa (pincushion flower)
  • Schizanthus pinnatus (Butterfly flower)
  • Tagetes (Marigold)
  • Thunbergia alata (Clockvine)
  • Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican sunflower)
  • Torenia Fournieri (Wishbone flower)
  • Tropaeolum (Nasturtiums)
  • Venidium fastuosum (Cape daisy)
  • Viola tricolor (Pansy)

Garden tip: Some of these hardy annuals are California natives- they grow as cool weather flowers here in Ohio, but once the summer heat turns up they wilt away or are done. They are useful for early color and in a succession type of plan – like vegetables- you can plant other crops for once they vacate the area, or you can grow a second succession. The annual Iberis is an example of this.


Prune trees before new growth starts.
Fertilize deciduous, broad-leaved and needle-leaved evergreen trees and shrubs.