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  • March is the first month i can get out and work in the garden

    Early spring is so exciting as the temperatures warm and the snow starts to melt. I love March because it is a month of excitement and hope. I find myself looking forward to warmer weather but sill able to enjoy the small victories of 4o degrees, then 5o degrees and even warmer still 6o degrees. 

    As it slowly grows warmer fun surprises start to show up on our property. The vibrant color of the crocuses coupled with excitement as my children start to find the first insects and worms of the season. By summers end they will no longer want to play with the worms and slugs but in March anything is game.

    This year I was gone for most of the month traveling to see family. There was so much snow when I left and the temperatures were still so cold that I was fully expecting to return to snow and minimal change in the garden. It was amazing to me how much had changed when I got home. March has an incredible ability to be drastic and dramatic. 

    Once the snow melts and you can dig the dirt its time to get to work

    Right now I still have a ton of landscaping to do on our property. I can only bite off small chunks of work at a time since I home school my kids and have other work to do around the house. I find that it is easiest to do most of my major digging when the soil is still pretty wet from the melting snow. As soon as the ground thaws enough to dig I am out there with my shovel.

    Back in January and February I do all of my planning. This not only includes what vegetable and flower varieties I am going to grow and my seed orders but it also includes what plants need to be moved. 

    By March I have a handy list of what plants need to be relocated and since a garden is trial and error there is normally quite a bit to move. There is also usually quite a bit to repair. 

     

    March is also a great time to build new garden beds or boxes. I find that sometimes our current boxes need screwed back together and we almost always have to top with compost. I also like to plan a couple of new items to build each year around this time. This year I plan to make a compost bin and a cold frame in April. In the garden you always need to be thinking ahead so I like to look around and try to find materials I have on hand and places to put new projects during March to be prepared for April builds.

    March is the time to get the greenhouse ready for the upcoming growing season

    Our greenhouse if fairly new. We built it last year but didn’t have time to get the shelves built before spring was in full swing. 

    I like to start my veggie starts and a lot of flowers in the greenhouse early, by the first of April at the latest. This year we built our shelves and I am in love. I spent some time getting everything laid out and ready to go. 

    I plan to install a garden box one one side of our greenhouse so we only built two shelves on one side. This will leave room so we can build the box right on the ground and I can plant several tomato starts in the greenhouse and they should do well because they love heat so much. 

    I also spent some time organizing and cleaning up all my pots. I also looked through my seeds and made a planting plan. I love spending time in the greenhouse, its so warm and peaceful. 

    March is exciting because you can normally see some growth in the garden

    I walk around in March after the snow cover has receded and check on all my early perennials and herbs. I take note of how they look and if they are coming up. I normally can see chives, and rhubarb beginning to break the soil. If I have planted garlic I can check on its growth as well. 

    I love to see the new growth from the tulips and iris. March is a time for me to clean up all the pine needles that have fallen into the flower beds and on the lawns. We get a lot of needles and if we don’t clean them up they can kill he undergrowth. 

    March is the month for fruit tree pruning. You need to prune in the spring to encourage growth. For some varieties like apple you want to prune before the buds break and the tree wakes up. Other varieties like Peach may need treatment for disease but you will want to prune later in the season. For me as a matter of rule, if I want explosive growth I will prune most things in the late winter early spring. This trims the branches back while the roots remain, causing the tree to want to grow fast to catch up with the roots.

    Some plants do not need trimmed this early in the year and you can actually cause them to not bloom if you do. Don’t trim lilacs or hydrangeas in early spring. Check out a list by searching online for when to prune if you need more information. 

    Chickens in the Garden always need some love in March

    Its been a hard winter for chickens. I know that my girls were a little cooped up. They don’t love snow and they will tend to stay inside their coop if it is really rainy or snowing. Now that things are starting to thaw I can finally get in and clean out their litter which normally gets pretty gross during the frozen months. 

    I also shoveled their run and fixed the fences. I don’t want my girls free ranging when things are starting to grow, they will eat all the new buds and growth right out of the ground. 

     

    Its also a good time of the year to inspect the chickens for any lice or mites that they may have gotten in the winter months from being cooped up. They can get lice from other wild birds eating their feed. I like to also check their toe nails and the bottoms of their feet for any sores or excess growth from being less active. Bumblefoot can be a problem since they have had frozen litter and its harder for them to jump down from their roosts. 

    Basic List of Garden Chores For March

    • rake pine needles and leaves off flowerbeds and out of the lawn
    • clean chicken coop out and replace litter
    • give chickens a health inspection
    • prepare greenhouse for planting starts- clean it up, build shelves ect.
    • relocated perennials and bushes before they wake up
    • check garden planting areas for new growth and make repairs to boxes and planting boundaries
    • make any repairs to chicken coop and get the birds contained in their run to protect new spring growth
    • do a walk through and inspect planting areas, look for new growth or dead and diseased plants
    • do any major shoveling while the ground is soft for landscaping or transplants
    • inspect garden tools, sharpen edges, oil hinges on pruning shears

    Get excited for the upcoming growing season

    And just like that March will march on into April. 

     

    I still have a couple of projects I am hoping to do this spring before the planting season gets into full swing. I am looking forward to April. Check back in to see how to build a compost bin and a cold frame as that should be up for my April garden post. 

    What does March look like in your garden? Please share in the comments. I would love to read about what you do.

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    6 Comments

    1. April 2, 2019 / 7:31 pm

      The crocuses are so pretty. I think I’d like to take a stroll in your garden. It looks like a happy place. 🌸

      • pinetreefarmhouse
        Author
        April 2, 2019 / 7:41 pm

        That is so nice of you to say. It still needs a ton of work but it’s slowly getting better each year.

    2. April 2, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      I love your greenhouse. Of course, I don’t need one here in SoCal, but when we were in Virginia I would have lived happily in a greenhouse among all the plants! I spent my March pulling out the cool season plants after they bolted. I’ve got some lettuce and spinach left, but everything else is finished. Fine by me, because I am going to my garden this afternoon to plant tomatoes, peppers, beans, and cukes, just ONE zucchini plant, and herbs.

      • pinetreefarmhouse
        Author
        April 3, 2019 / 12:15 am

        I can imagine that it is a big difference between Virginia and California. I just planted most of my starts in the greenhouse today and I resisted the urge to plant the entire package of zucchini!!! They can get out of control fast!

    3. April 2, 2019 / 10:14 pm

      A lot of work but you reap what you sow as soon as you enjoy all the fresh veg, colorful flowers and nothing beats farm fresh eggs!! Enjoy!

      • pinetreefarmhouse
        Author
        April 3, 2019 / 12:13 am

        It is a lot of work! Its a good thing I love it so much. I really appreciate the way the garden gives me reasons to get outside in the cool spring weather. It feels so good to be outside after winter.

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