HORTICULTURE — Garden Guide: Things to Do This Month


By Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate, Lancaster County

Complete the pruning of shrubs, ornamental trees before growth starts, except for spring flowering shrubs like lilac. Prune those which bloom in spring as soon as they finish flowering.

March is a good time to start transplants indoors of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

How are your houseplants doing? Check all five growing factors if your house plants are not growing well. Light, temperature, nutrients, moisture and humidity must be favorable to provide good growth.

Buy a notebook and use it to keep all your gardening information. List what you plant in the garden. Include the name of seed companies, plant name, variety, planting date and harvest date. During the growing season, keep notes on how well the plant does. If the variety is susceptible to disease, record what was used to treat any problems. All this information will be helpful in planning future gardens.

Turn the compost pile.

Some annuals, such as verbenas, snapdragons and petunias, take 70–90 days to bloom. They should be started indoors in early spring.

Buy some new perennials for your flower border. Spring is a good time to renew and add variety to your landscape.

Finish repairing and painting of window boxes, lawn furniture, tools and other items in preparation for outdoor gardening and recreational use.

Do not plow your garden when the soil is wet. It will form clods which are difficult to break up and interfere with cultivation during the summer.

Rake the lawn to remove leaves and twigs.

If you have not done it already, check stored tools and outdoor furniture for signs of rust. Remove any surface rust with steel wool and paint with rust-preventing paint.