March Garden Planner

by Scott Duncan

If any of us are out in the garden this weekend it is probably to do clean up and repairs after recent winter storms but gardening season is about to begin.

  • During March Delmarva weather can be cold, wet, and windy. But the first nice days of spring mark the beginning of gardening season on Delmarva. While you are waiting for the skies to clear set up a garden journal which you can use to keep track of what works from year to year under various types of conditions.

  • This is a good time to start seeds indoors with a starting medium or soil mix in flats or peat starter pots. Set these in a tray and water them from below or with a spray bottle set on mist. Check your seed packet instructions to determine if they need to be covered or exposed to light. Look in on them every day to see if they need watering. Thin germinated seeds to one or two plants per cell or pot.

  • Check your seed packets for the number of weeks from planting until harvest to know when to start and plant your seeds outside. On your empty packets write the date they were started and then when planted. Keep these in your garden journal to track when they germinate and when to expect your harvest, along with other planting instructions from the seed company.

  • In the beginning of the month start seeds for cold tolerant plants such as: peas, beets, spinach, Chinese cabbage, and potato or onion sets. Later in the month start other seeds for planting during April.

  • Buy or build a cold frame to protect seedlings and young plants that will be kept outside.

  • Once the soil has thawed you can begin preparing garden beds. Weed and turn the soil and add fertilizer. Take things slow so as not to cause muscle strain.

  • Check plant variety guides for the type of fertilizer you should use for the plants you want to grow. Some recommend allowing the soil to rest for a short period of time before planting.

  • Keep track of predicted overnight lows and cover plants when there are freeze warnings. Visit our links to USDA hardiness maps for all three Delmarva states, and planting guides created by the Maryland Cooperative Extension which work well throughout the peninsula.