I wrote this list for the colder Western regions, but Barbara pointed out that it works equally well for March gardens in Southern California.
In the Rocky Mountains there’s a good chance you still have snow on the ground, or if the snow has melted you are dealing with frozen ground that turns muddy for a few hours during the day and then freezes again. But it’s time to start getting ready for spring and here to help you get going is the beginning of a garden to do list.
Get your soil tested once it’s workable. I’m going to do this again this year. I haven’t tested my soil since 2002, so it’s time for another one. The lab will do a complete study of your soil and it’s all very interesting. It will give you a good start in your garden by taking away the guess-work about what your soil needs to produce healthy plants that will be able to ward off diseases and pests.
Make a list of garden goals. For example; I want more vegetables this year! I’m going to expand the vegetable garden and add vegetables I didn’t have last year. I love this potato bin. Also, I’m going to enclose my vegetable area with hoops and chicken wire to keep out deer and other critters and later on I can drape row cover cloth on them to extend the season. I have a few more goals, but the veggie garden is my priority this year.
Buy and start seeds. I noticed all the garden sections in the box stores are filled with garden supplies for seed starting. A sure sign of spring if anyone around here had doubts that it was ever going to come. Check out our Resources page for a list of seed suppliers.
Start your garden journals and actually use them through the season! Don’t forget to add photos to help you spot and remember problem areas, or if you just want to remind yourself in the winter that there actually is a beautiful garden underneath all that snow.
Make a commitment to go organic this year. I mean really all the way. Find alternative, safe ways to combat diseases and pesky bugs. Gather up all your pesticides and herbicides and find a safe way to dispose of all those nasty chemicals. They are harmful to you, your pets, children, and the environment. Call your local extension office for information about where to dispose of them.
Clean, sharpen and organize tools. I’m pretty bad about putting my tools away for the winter and I still have to gather up all my hand tools that were left scattered about in the fall. Actually, some will have to be searched for after the snow melts. I saw a handle of one the other day sticking out of the snow. Oops!
Prune deciduous shrubs. Make note of the spring blooming and wait until after they bloom to prune.
Care for trees. Those that have winter damage should be attended to, but leave the big branches to a professional.
Cut back perennials and grasses and finish clean up in garden beds.