March is a hit and miss month in terms of getting much done, but in USDA Hardiness zone 5b there are some must do chores for the beginning of the season:
- If you didn’t get your lettuce and spinach out in February, get them planted this month. I started a crop in my deck pot garden mid-February.
- Patrick’s Day is also time to plant potatoes, radishes, and carrots.
- Prune and fertilize roses. Remove all dead branches so the new growth will have room, and add coffee grounds, banana peels, Epsom salts, and crushed eggshells mixed into the soil around the plant base.
- Plant onion sets around roses to keep bugs at bay. Three for miniature roses, five to six for the larger roses.
- Prune fruit trees, nothing elaborate, I make sure the branches don’t cross and are open in the center. Also mulch. Make a tire around the base leaving the space up at the tree trunk open.
- If I haven’t already painted and repaired birdhouses and native bee houses, those get finished and installed this month. If I put this off much longer, possible renters, especially birds, tend to pop into the garage to check out the real estate before it is moved into the garden.
- My over-wintering mulch pile is ready to spread over new areas that need cover for the season and areas that lost cover over winter. It’s a good time to load up the wheelbarrow and keep a supply handy.
- Mother’s Day in May is the last frost day for this zone so it’s a little too early to get much else planted and too early to move tropical plants outside. Give them a little rainwater and that will help tie them over another month or so until they can move outside.
Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a gardener, beekeeper, and sometimes cook. For more, visit gardeningcharlotte.com. Published by Kaleidoscope Weekly with permission. Copyright 2018, all rights reserved. This column may not be copied, published, reprinted, rewritten, or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at email@example.com