Summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean gardening season is, too. Many plants prefer the cooler temperatures and shorter days that come with autumn, which means March is a great time to plan a garden refresh.
In general, the best candidates for March planting fall into three categories: Fast-growing vegetables, spring harvest vegetables, and autumn- or spring-blooming flowers. Here are some great options to get you started.
While radishes are typically a spring vegetable, they favour moderate temperatures and grow incredibly fast, making them an ideal fall garden candidate. If you can squeeze in some planting time 4-6 weeks before the first frost, you’ll have delicious radishes in hardly any time at all.
If you live in a warm climate, you might still have time to plant some broccoli. The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends planting broccoli seeds 85-100 days before the first frost.
Lettuce grows super fast, making it an ideal candidate for a late summer (or early fall) planting. Be sure to choose lettuce varieties that suit fall weather in your region. Lettuce thrives in cool weather, so if March is still pretty hot where you live, opt for heat-tolerant varieties.
According to The Spruce, arugula takes about 40 days to grow from seed, which means you probably have plenty of time to get some going before the first frost. It does best in full sun, so make sure your plants get at least six hours a day for best results.
Fall spinach can be ready for harvest in a few weeks — and if you pick only the outer leaves, your plants can keep producing right through the winter and even into the spring. The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends choosing a variety with good cold hardiness and carefully thinning the seedlings as they grow.
Cool temperatures bring out the best in kale, which is hardy enough to survive hard frosts. If your area had an especially hot summer that’s not quite over yet, hold off on planting kale until things cool down — whether that’s in March or even a bit later.
Growing your own garlic is as easy as planting individual, unpeeled cloves in well-prepared soil. (And then waiting several months, of course.) March is the perfect time to get planting for a late spring or early summer harvest.
Spring onions and shallots
Much like garlic, spring onions and shallots can be planted in the fall for a spring harvest. Depending on your region, you’ll need to protect them over the winter with some mulch at the least; growers in colder regions may need to build low tunnels for more protection.
Nothing says spring quite like daffodils in full bloom. These cheery yellow flowers are best planted sometime in the fall — choose a spot with good drainage and full-to-partial sun to keep your bulbs happy.
Bright, colourful asters look like Technicolor daisies and are a great way to attract pollinators to your garden. They thrive in warm (but not hot) temperatures, making them an ideal candidate for March planting.
Growing peonies isn’t a fast process, but the gorgeous blooms are well worth the wait. Although you can plant them in spring, Horticulture magazine actually recommends a fall planting because it seems to help the plants establish themselves — and bloom — sooner. Always start with bare root peonies and be sure to keep them warm during the winter with plenty of mulch.
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