Gardening in March in the Pacific Northwest

It’s getting harder and harder to stay indoors! The armchair is so comfy, but the neighbors are out in their yards, and if I don’t go out, they might talk about me! Yeah, and there is a lot to do!

For one thing, those greens we started a few weeks back (you did plant them, right?) aren’t ready to go into their final beds, but they need to be transplanted into larger containers and maybe get some fish emulsion to help them along. That seed starter we used was purposely sterile to give the seedlings a better chance to avoid damping off, but now all the food from the seeds is used up and they are hungry!

You can put some things straight into the beds right now. Peas are a great candidate (love those Sugar Daddy Snap Peas!). Onion sets for green onions are another good choice for March direct planting. Later in the month you can put out potatoes. I like to get some fast growing Yukon Gold going in March. Early harvests are great! It makes the neighbors envious!

Hardy annual flowers can go in the ground now. Alyssum,Bachelor’s Buttons, Larkspur, and Calendula are good choices. I like to get some flowers started near where the Daffodils and Tulips will soon be blooming. The flowers should be ready to fill in color shortly after the bulbs begin to die back. There are few things as sad as a Daffodil past its prime.

 What a difference a day makes!

What a difference a day makes!

I’ve got a problem that holds me back. I could be planting Carrots, Broccoli, and even Cabbage now if I was willing to put a cloche over them. We do that with great success in the Demonstration Garden. I have this crazy idea that a garden should look like plants, not white tunnels. It’s just my problem. But then, I don’t really like Carrots or Broccoli much!

If you’ve got deciduous trees in need of pruning, get to it! You should have that done before they begin to leaf out, and this year, things are opening up early. Many woody shrubs fall into the same category. Even if they are not deciduous, there is a point when they start to grow again for this season, and you’ll want to have your pruning completed by then. I just did major surgery on a favorite Ceanothus (did you know they are sometimes called California Lilacs?) that had been ignored for years. It looks great, and is ready to grow. Ok, ok, I’ll admit it. I actually got a friend to prune it, and that may be why it looks great.

One more job I’m not looking forward to - pruning the roses. It isn’t that it’s difficult, it’s that I get punctured every time! It took me a long time to be willing to really cut them back hard, but every year they grow like crazy and have beautiful blooms.

Alright, let’s get out to the garden. We can talk about the neighbor kiddie korner across the street who hasn’t come out to work yet!