It’s planting season for the lucky gardeners who live in Zones 9-10! While March weather can be somewhat unpredictable, signs of spring are everywhere. Trees are budding, birds are singing, temperatures are overwhelmingly warm, and winter crops are ready for harvest. Check out our March Garden Checklist Zones 9-10 for tips and steps to take in the garden this month to ensure a robust and fruitful garden all year.
Spring Garden Planning
It’s time to put all of that winter planning to work in the backyard. Get your garden journal ready and take your garden dreams and make them a reality.
- Attend a Horticulture Show! Nothing is more inspirational than seeing a whole arena filled with a gardening extravaganza.
- Use your sketched-out garden design plans and dream boards to figure out where your newly acquired plants and seedlings will go.
- Decide what you still need to fill the spaces. This is best to do before you head to the store.
- Plan your companion plant pairings.
- Jot down any supplies that you still need at the garden center.
Visit Your Local Extension Office
The month of March is the perfect time to visit your local extension office before the gardening season gets underway. Each State Department of Agriculture has offices set up within local counties to help gardeners and farmers find local garden resources. These specialized agencies are staffed by experts on garden and landscaping topics who are ready and willing to answer your questions, troubleshoot problems, provide local guidelines, and provide advice and support to all who seek some help in the garden.
- Soil Test: Obtain a sample of your soil and bring it to your local garden extension office or nursery for a soil test before planting time arrives. Experts can help you identify the quality of your native soil and provide recommendations for amending.
- Before going to your local extension office or nursery, brainstorm some questions ahead of time. Bring along your garden journal and as you ask gardening questions, jot down suggestions and expert advice.
- Find out about native plants and what grows best in your region.
- Discover what plants and flowers will attract beneficial pollinators to your garden.
- Gain valuable planting information detailing when you can start thinking about getting new plants and seedlings in the ground.
Stock Up on Garden Supplies
Garden centers and nurseries should be putting out this year’s gardening tools and supplies. Peruse the aisles and snatch up some of the most sought-after items on your list while the shelves are fully stocked.
- If any tools were beyond repair, have gone missing, or you have longed to acquire, now is the time to do it!
- Once you get your soil test results, you can gather some of the amendments that you need to boost your soil’s performance.
- If you haven’t acquired seeds yet or need more, you can be sure to have them on time by purchasing them at your local nursery or garden center-the same goes for seed starting supplies.
- Summer bulbs such as Gladiolus, Elephant Ears, Cannas, Caladium, and Dahlias will be fully stocked on store shelves now. You can start planting them at the end of March.
- Bare root plants are also most plentifully stocked at this time. You’ll have the best options to pick from this month. This includes roses, rhubarb, berry bushes, fruit trees, and other favorites.
How to Prepare and Maintain the Garden
It is best to have garden beds prepped and ready to go so that you can plan what plants you want to fill the space. Be aware that the ground is waking up, and if rain has been prevalent in your area, avoid walking or driving on your garden when the soil is saturated. Compressing the soil with weight will result in soil compaction, leading to a plethora of problems in the garden bed. Here are some housekeeping items on the March Garden Checklist Zones 9-10 that will boost your spring gardens.
- Check plants regularly for signs of pests and disease.
- Proactively set out sticky traps to catch common insect pests like Whiteflies, Aphids, Leaf Miners, and Thrips.
- Pull up weeds before they establish themselves or use organic weed control methods to eliminate them.
- Don’t forget about your lawn. Keep it thriving by aerating this month.
- Divide and transplant perennials and bulbs.
- Prune flowering shrubs after they have finished blooming.
- Plant your summer flowering bulbs.
Mulching and Amending the Garden
It’s a great time to start mulching and amending. You can stomp out weeds in early spring by adding a couple of inches of mulch to your garden beds. Once your soil test results are in, add compost and any other necessary amendments to help build healthier soil. These actions will bolster your soil and prevent propagating spring weeds from overtaking your garden before your gardens are in full swing.
Look for Signs of Spring
Take some time to assess what things look like outdoors. Take a walk around the yard and inhale the last few weeks of winter as you dream of the planting season.
- If it has been a milder winter and some rain has washed away the snow from the soil, you may see some hopeful perennials popping up, or there may even be bulbs peeking through the snow! Snowdrops, daffodils, and rhubarb leaves may be emerging in some areas.
- Don’t forget about the wildlife throughout the month of March. Fill up some bird feeders or hang some suet and watch the array of birds that flock to the feast. Attracting these colorful friends to the feeders will provide entertainment and joy as you await the milder days to come. Inviting birds to your backyard significantly helps control the insect population which can protect your plants.
Indoor Garden Planting
Before we discuss starting seeds indoors on our March Garden Checklist Zones 9-10, it is always important to identify your grow zones last frost date, even though these climates are mild. This date varies with each zone and is just an estimation. The last frost date is essential because this is how you will calculate what you can start planting indoors by counting the seed maturation days backward from the last estimated frost date so they will be ready for outdoor planting.
- Zone 9– Estimated last frost date of February 6-28, which means you can start planting seeds indoors in late February or early March.
- Zones 10 and 11– Has no estimated last frost date, so feel free to start planting
It’s time to start seeds for:
- Brussels Sprouts
Flower seeds with long maturation periods can also be germinated in seed trays and pots indoors throughout the month as well.
Outdoor Spring Garden Planting
Once you have prepped soil with amendments and weeds have been pulled, it’s time to start sowing seeds outdoors. Sow vegetables such as:
- Swiss Chard
Harvest Garden Harvest
Enjoy a healthy harvest of plenty of cooler weather varieties of vegetables and herbs. When it comes to our March Garden Checklist Zones 9-10, the temperatures are mild enough in these zones for growing vegetables. Winter harvests always depend on the time of planting.
Gardeners in these zones can continue to harvest things such as:
- Brussels Sprouts