The month of March is a busy one for gardeners. It’s time to start planting those spring seeds, start some summer seeds, and get the compost pile going!
To help you keep track of all the tasks that need to be done this month, we’ve put together a free printable March garden checklist. This checklist includes all the chores that need to be done in the garden in March, plus tips on how to complete them.
Consider your growing zone
Before checking off this list of garden tasks for March, do consider where you live and your climate. I live in zone 8, and except for a few rogue nights, I don’t anticipate many more temps below freezing. Does North Carolina always surprise me? Yes, so I’m always prepared with some cloth or plastic cups to save my smaller plants.
If you live in a zone below 6, you may want to use this checklist in April or May, closer to planting time. For those in warmer climates above zone 8, consider using my February checklist during the month of March since you’ll be ahead climate-wise.
These aren’t hard and fast lists, but they are a good guideline for preparing for spring which will arrive later in March.
Vegetable Garden Tasks for March
Start Seeds Indoors
One of the most exciting March garden tasks is starting seeds indoors. This is the month I start my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants from seed. Starting your own seeds is a great way to save money on plants come spring. It’s also really satisfying to watch those little seeds germinate and grow into seedlings that can then be hardened off and transplanted to the garden. A few of my favorite seed starting items are:
Direct Sow Early Spring Seeds
March is also a good month to direct sow some early spring seeds. These are typically cool weather crops that can handle a little frost. In my garden, I direct sow peas, carrots, beets, spinach, and lettuce during the month of March. Get my full list of early spring favorites.
Kick up the compost pile
If you haven’t started composting yet, March is a great time to get the compost pile going. Composting is a great way to recycle kitchen scraps and yard debris into nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden. For more information on how to start composting, check out this post: How To Start Composting.
Mulch and compost where needed
After you’ve direct sown your early spring seeds and kicked up the compost pile, it’s time to think about mulching and adding compost to the garden. This is one of my favorite March garden tasks because it’s so satisfying to see the newly planted seeds covered in a layer of protection and mulching around plants helps to keep moisture in the soil.
I typically mulch with straw or another non-treated mulch, and I add compost to the garden beds before planting. This gives the plants a boost of nutrients and helps them get off to a good start.
And mulching with pine straw after composting is also great for fruit trees and bushes that are beginning to bud and bloom in spring.
Check for pests
Last but not least, be sure to check your plants for pests in March. This is the time of year when aphids and other garden pests start to become a problem. Be on the lookout for pests and take action to control them before they get out of hand.
If you’re interested in keeping your garden as organic and pollinator friendly as possible, consider using natural pest control techniques. See my post on Natural Pest Control for the Home Garden.
Harden off seedlings
If you purchased seedlings from a green house for your early spring garden, be sure to harden them off first. Most plants cannot hold up to the cooler outdoor temps directly out of a greenhouse environment. Here’s my full tutorial for hardening off seedlings.
Make a plan for fertilization
Based on when you planted your seeds, you may need to start fertilizing your plants in March. I typically wait until my plants are a few inches tall and have developed true leaves before I start fertilizing, but you may need to start earlier if you’re planting warm weather crops.
My Kitchen Garden Planner has a fertilization schedule to make this task a cinch!
March Tasks for the Yard and Shrubs
March is also a good time to start working in the yard. The March garden tasks list below is for those who have more than just a vegetable garden. If you don’t have any flower beds, you can probably skip this section!
- Start prepping flower beds for any new plants
- Remove dead limbs or plants from beds
- Prune back any winter blooming shrubs, like camellias. (Here’s my guide on How to Prune Camellia Bushes.)
- Add fresh mulch or pine straw to beds
- Once all danger of frost has passed, fertilize the lawn in preparation for spring.
March is a great month to start getting your yard ready for spring. There are lots of tasks to keep you busy, including prepping flower beds, removing dead limbs or plants from beds, pruning back winter blooming shrubs, and fertilizing the lawn.
And don’t forget to download my free printable March garden chores list!