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GARDENING: March chore list includes buying seeds, planting bulbs

Sharpen those tools and start those seeds, it's almost spring!
John Hethrington is a Master Gardener living in Meaford where he tends 20 different gardens.

Master gardener John Hethrington doesn't let a little thing like winter prevent him from working on his 20 different gardens. His advice for all gardeners is this: there's always work to be done. Here are his tips for March gardening tasks:

Start tuberous begonia and caladium corms in pots or in a tray of peat moss, you keep moist, but not soggy

Plant brassicas (the cabbage family) seeds and hardy annuals for very late May planting outdoors.

Start tomatoes, lettuce and other fast growers from seed in late March to early April.

Make a list of spring chores in the order they should be done, if you haven’t already done so.

Order summer flowering bulbs. Try Order/buy seeds for summer planting now. 

Check, repair and sharpen your gardening tools on a snowy day.

Apply combination dormant oil spray to fruit trees and pest-prone shrubs when above-freezing weather permits.

Bring spring indoors. Start forcing branches of spring-flowering shrubs like Forsythia.

If you can find them, buy Narcissus bulbs and grow them in gravel with water for spring flowers indoors.

Prune summer-flowering shrubs and vines.

When the snow is gone from your garden beds and they are still damp, but before new plant leaves emerge, buy and apply triple-19 agricultural fertilizer liberally only to your garden beds. 

Plan to plant a few bird-attracting, native berry plants and shrubs, plus pollinator perennials for bees and butterflies.

When the snow goes, loosen up and dig in any packed down winter mulch and press perennials that have heaved back into place.

Think about your garden and make a list of the perennials you could dig and donate to the St. George’s Annual Plant Sale in Clarksburg June 1 2024. Donate 15 or more plants and get a tax receipt for the value your plants sell for. I have 353 on my list!

If there are any students out there who are interested in garden work after school this spring and all summer as well, please get in touch now. There are lots of jobs available. Contact John Hethrington [email protected]