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Guide to March Gardening in the U.S.

Guide to March Gardening in the U.S.

    With the dismal month of February now behind us, March gives hope of spring and new beginnings.  It’s the perfect time to start working on your spring gardening plans, even though spring doesn’t officially start until much later in the month. Much of the United States still has to contend with cold weather spells in March, but for the southern portions of the country, things are already starting to heat up.

    For many parts of the U.S., spring has already sprung or is just around the corner.  It’s an exciting time for gardeners, who have yet another chance to tend to and raise some some amazing plants, veggies, fruits, and flowers.

    Consult the guide below for recommendations on how to best tackle gardening in your region.

    All Areas –

    • If you’ve neglected your houseplants all winter, now is the time to start feeding and watering them again. If necessary, repot them, and when watering make sure not to overdo it.
    • If you have wet soil in your garden, avoid walking on it.
    • Get your soil tested so you know what you’re up against this spring and summer.

    The Regions:

    Mid-Atlantic –

    Average March Temps: Low 25.4° High 44.5° (Albany, NY) ,  Low 37° High 58.4° (Richmond, VA)

    While frost is still an issue in March, hardy annuals such as Alyssum, Dianthus, and Viola can still go out before the last expected frost. Hold off on planting your summer bulbs and tubers until the soil warms up and dries, and plant shrubs when the ground warms.  You’ll also want to wait on planting vegetables and fruits until the danger of frost has passed and the ground is no longer frozen and is actually workable.  If you have roses in your garden, prune them before buds break.

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    Midwest –

    Average March Temps:   Low 25.7° High 47.3° (Sioux City, IA),  Low 36° High 55.8° (Kansas City, MO)

    Frost is also an issue in many Midwestern states during the month of March, so you’ll want to start growing your seeds indoors.  You can also cut back grasses, as well as finish pruning shrubs.  Start spraying fruit trees.

    Northeast –

    Average March Temps: Low 25.2° High 42.2° (Portland, ME),   Low 20.1° High 38.1° (Montpelier, VT)

    It’s still rather cold in the Northeast in March, so like the Midwest, you’ll want to start your warm season seeds indoors and keep an eye on plant crowns that might have heaved out of the ground during a thaw.  Towards the end of the month as it warms up, you can start removing mulch.

    Pacific Northwest –

    Average March Temps: Low 14° High 30° (Missoula, MT),   Low 35° High 45° (Seattle, WA)

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    March in the Pacific Northwest is conducive to starting your seeds of greens indoors.  Things you can do to start preparing your garden include: deadheading early bloomers, continuing to mulch, diligently hunt slugs and set out your apple maggot traps. At the end of the month you can plant peas.

    Southeast –

    Average March Temps:  Low 33° High 53° (Birmingham, AL),  Low 50° High 72° (Orlando, FL)

    Unlike the northern parts of the country, in the southeast you can start actually planting things in the ground.  This is an excellent time to plant cool season vegetables such as lettuce, peas, root veggies, cabbage, broccoli, chard, and greens. You can also plant cool season flowers and berry bushes. Cool season greens and root crops (carrots, onions, beets, radishes, turnips) can be planted directly outdoors.  Seeds of warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant should be started indoors at this time.

    Southwest –

    Average March Temps:  Low 17° High 41° (Colorado Springs, CO),  Low 41° High 66° (Phoenix, AZ)

    The Southwestern portion of the U.S. can also start planting things outdoors beginning in March, but freezes are still possible so you’ll want to keep covers on hand.  Start out by pulling back your mulch so that the soil can warm up. You can start planting your summer bulbs, as well as beets, greens, lettuce, potatoes, and corn.  Indoors, you’ll want to start growing your eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squash and melons – it’s still a little too cold for them.

    Regional Exceptions:

    Florida –

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    Average March Temps:  Low 64° High 80° (Miami, FL),  Low 50° High 73° (Tallahasse, FL)

    It’s tropical season in Florida right now, so for the most part you’re safe.  Cold spells can happen on occasion, so keep prepared. At this time you can begin replacing cool weather annuals with summer annuals, and start putting your perennials in the ground so they can establish. Plant your warm season crops before it gets too hot out.  You should have already started growing your citrus trees in containers, now you can transplant those outdoors.  Established citrus trees can be fertilized now, but you should wait 4 to 6 weeks to feed newly planted ones.

    Northern California –

    Average March Temps:  Low 50° High 68.6° (Chico, CA),  Low 44.5° High 69.9° (San Francisco, CA)

    In Northern California, March is the time to start planting summer blooming bulbs and tubers.  You’ll also want to prune old growth off the bougainvillea, plant potatoes, and fertilize trees and shrubs.  Feed your roses, and harden and set out seedlings. It’s a great time to start gardening!

    Southern California –

    Average March Temps:  Low 44.5° High 69.9° (Los Angeles, CA),  Low 41.9° High 74° (Carlsbad, CA)

    If you haven’t done it already, start your seeds.  It’s also time to spray fruit trees and divide fall blooming perennials.  Start scouting for slugs and snails.

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    Hawaii –

    Average March Temps:  Low 45.3° High 62.6°

    Hawaii is a year-round, gardening paradise. At this time of the year you’ll want to continue mulching and start feeding your gardenias.  It’s also time to sow a cover crop.

    Alaska –

    Average March Temps:  Low 38.1° High 51.7° (Anchorage, AK)

    While many people think of Alaska as perpetually snowy, it’s actually got four seasons and gets warm.  March, however, is still on the cold side so it’s best to start your seeds indoors right now.  You can also check on your rhubarb, it could be up.

     

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    Julie McCormick

    Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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