March in the Garden
Updated: Mar 9, 2022
Don't have time for all my wisdom?
Here's a quick checklist:
March is when all the good stuff starts. When I was a child I always looked forward to March. I thought it was because my birthday is at the beginning of the month and my best friend's was smack dab in the middle. As I've grown older birthdays have grown less agreeable the more numerous they've become. I realize that its actually always been something else that draws me to this time of year: March is the awakening of the garden and the gardener's reacquaintance with it. After months of the garden and gardener turning cold shoulders to one another, the air begins to warm, the light to linger, and the birds to chatter. Suddenly the garden is again an appealing place to be and the lusty gardener will find no end of need for his or her attentions.
A single good day in March is far more appreciated than a full week of warm weather come June. Here in high altitude Colorado we lovingly refer to our spring weather as bi-polar Boulder. One day you can find yourself basking barefoot in the simple joy of pulling weeds and listening to birdsong and the next morning wake to fluffy snowflakes blanketing your newly weeded flower beds.
With such unpredictable weather, how can we profit from March in the garden and lay a foundation for later season blooms? Lets break it down by garden areas: Yard, Flowerbeds (or vegetable boxes if you prefer) and Greenhouse (or whatever interior space you have available for storing tools and maybe even seed starting).
We americans love our flat, grassy, green yards and while many gardeners will tell you that the yard is a guilty pleasure that needs to be given up, this gardener won't. I love having a few grassy spots for picnicking or running barefoot through or playing croquet or kicking a soccer ball (as long as all balls are aimed away from my very breakable glass greenhouse.)
The key to a nice yard is healthy grass. Focus on the health of your grass instead of potential problems (like dandelions) and the rest will naturally follow. At Petals we are passionate about organic gardening and you should be too (though I won't beat that dead horse here). As much as I love my green lawn, growing grass is not my passion so I outsource its care to Organo-Lawn, a lovely, local company that can help you maintain the health of your yard without chemicals. They come out about 6 times a year and put various organic products (mainly using chicken meal and iron) on my lawn to keep the problems at bay through boosting the health of the grass. They also aerate, which is key to success in a place like Colorado where dry, compact soil and all those running feet conspire to compress our poor grass into oblivion. If you are a more passionate (organic) grass grower than I, please, let me know exactly what you do to keep your grass happy and maybe one day I can quit outsourcing that part of the garden. If not, drop the Roundup (seriously, drop it!), and call Organo-Lawn (and no: I get zero discounts for recommending them, though I'd really like it if I did). Here's what I personally do for my lawn in March:
Aeration - outsourced
Organic pre-emergent weed control - outsourced
Heavy raking and mow (only take the bare minimum off of the top): end of March and only if the lawn is dry - do not attempt in the snow.
Pull arrant grass patches -after a deep watering from a spring snowstorm is the easiest time to remove clumps of grass that may have sprouted in your flowerbeds.
(or veggie patch, if you're into