Mar. 2013 Gardening To-Do List: Zone 3

Susan Wells
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USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

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There may be snow on the ground, but we gardeners can feel the stirrings of spring. Now is the time to get those seeds started for vegetables and flowers to plant outside in May, and if the ground is workable any days this month, you may still plant trees and shrubs to give them a head start on a root system before summer comes.

 

Vegetables

Start seeds for the early cool season vegetables such as chives, onion, lettuce, broccoli and peas by the first of the month.  Toward the end of the month or in April you can also start seeds for tomatoes, peppers, annuals and perennials (about 6 weeks before the last frost date which is May 15 for Zone 3).

Annuals/Perennials

Pot up stored bulbs, such as hybrid tuberous begonias, dahlias, canna, and calla lilies and set them in the light.

Start seeds of edging lobelia, asters, and marigolds indoors under lights. When seedlings have their second pair of true leaves, transplant them to larger pots.

Buy tubers for begonias and plant them in pots indoors now and they will be ready for your window box or planters by spring. 

 

Pruning shears

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Trees/Shrubs

By end of the month you may get days nice enough to get out and prune trees and shrubs.  Don’t prune any spring flowering shrubs and trees, as the buds have already formed.  Do not prune oaks, elms or walnut until fall. Do not prune spring bloomers such as lilacs until after they are done blooming.  Prune hybrid tea, grandiflora and floribunda roses to about 6 inches tall.  Prune off any limbs damaged over winter.

Water evergreens growing near the house foundation if the soil is dry. Also, mist the foliage to allow needles to absorb the much-needed moisture.

Do not try to remove wet heavy snow from evergreens; you could do more harm than good.  Evergreen limbs remain supple through winter and will bend under the weight, but usually will not crack.

March is a good time to plant fruit trees and blueberries, boysenberries and currants. If you mulched strawberries this past fall, be sure to remove the mulch when growth begins. If you don’t have established strawberries, this is the month to start a new bed.

Lawn/Turf

If the snow melts early and you get a warm day, cut back the dead top growth of ornamental grasses.  Leave about 3 or 4 inches of stems which will help keep hungry rabbits out of the new growth and keep you from stepping on them.

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