Everyone is thinking about the garden right now, if not they should be! The vegetable garden is where you can really reap the rewards of your backyard. Sometimes though you do’t know what you should be doing and when or (if you’re like me) forget a few things every now and then! So here is a little garden checklist for you for things that you should be doing at the end of March. This list is catered to a zone 6-7 garden with an approximate last frost date of mid-April so if you live in different zones you will need to adjust the list by a couple weeks.
Vegetable Garden Checklist for the End of March
Plant Potatoes and Onions
March is a great time to plant these in the garden. We go through a lot of potatoes and onions through the year and can be some of the most cost effective garden produce we grow. You can buy seed onions for as little as $2 for 80 seed onions which makes them very economical! Potatoes are very cheap to get started too. Here’s a look at how I plant potatoes in our garden.
Add Compost or Fertilizers
Work your compost into the top two inches of garden soil and replenish your beds. If you are using fertilizers be sure to use natural fertilizers that won’t add salts to the soil. Pay attention to the rating on the side of each fertilizer. When growing greens higher nitrogen is good but not so much when wanting fruit from tomatoes or peppers. The NPK ratio should match what you’re growing. NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium which are the three major elements plants need for growth.
Manage your weeds from the beginning and you’ll have less to do later. Spread weed control fabric, cardboard, or newspaper on pathways to keep them clear of weeds and reduce maintenance later. Avoid spraying if at all possible. Some common garden weeds this time of year include dandelions, hairy bittercress, henbit, clover and chickweed. Not all weeds are bad weeds though, some can be very beneficial. Dandelions can be harvested and used to fertilize plants, clover is a great cover crop that can replenish the soil with nitrogen, and chickweed is edible!
If you have anything left that needs cleaned up do it now before things really get growing!
Build New Raised Beds
Anytime is a good time to build a raised bed! The best thing about a raised bed is that you have the ability to control the soil quality. Always avoid soil that may be contaminated with weeds as the seeds or roots may grow and create problems later. This post may be helpful if you need more information on designing a garden with raised beds.
Spread a good layer of mulch over the garden for good moisture control and to add organic matter. A layer of newspapers underneath can add some extra weed protection. Good garden mulches should be organic and let water through but keep the sun off the soil. Straw is commonly used in the garden but I’ve had good success with hardwood mulch, pine straw, grass clippings, and leaves.
Cool season plantings can be direct sowed in the ground or planted in pots indoors to transplant out. Radishes, lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, parsley, cilantro, arugula, beets, and many others!
Plan Your Plantings for Succession Planting
What are you going to put next in that garden bed? You need to know! Follow a basic crop rotation plan to avoid soil disease and minimize nutrient depletion.
How much of this list do you have completed?