University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
AND OTHER MARCH GARDENING TIPS
Leonard Perry, UVM Extension
Keeping cyclamen in flower
indoors, spraying horticultural oil outdoors, and building a cold
some of the gardening activities for this month.
are beautiful houseplants that can flower for weeks indoors this
time of year,
but they are subject to some problems. Spider mites love them and
may force you
to spray plants with insecticidal soap. Cyclamen can be cut back to
line and they will resprout new shoots in no time. Also,
root rot, which can spell death. Ideally
they prefer, and stay in bloom the longest with, cool conditions (55
degrees F) and even watering.
horticultural oil on fruit trees such as apples, plums, and
smother any overwintering insects. These
are often called “dormant oils” as they’re applied while trees are
dormant, just before buds emerge. Choose a calm day when
temperatures are above
40 degrees (F), and when no rain is forecast.
Be sure to cover all sides of branches, including inner and upper
Carefully follow the label instructions for proper usage and
make a simple cold frame by placing hay bales along the perimeter of
rectangle, and placing old windows or a glass storm door over the
cold frames are convenient, and some have
thermostatically-controlled tops that
open automatically when the temperature inside hits a designated
the midday sun can heat this space up quickly, such a vent is
if you're away for long stretches during the day. Check seed
catalogs and online garden
suppliers for many types and price ranges of cold frames.
such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, can be started over the
couple of weeks indoors under lights. These cool-loving
crops will grow six weeks indoors before being transplanted outdoors
(generally early to mid-May
in the North Country) two weeks before your last “average” frost
date. Keep seedlings moist and well fed to get the
sturdiest transplants. Lanky, tall
seedlings will be a sign they’re getting too much fertilizer, too
or both. If you don’t have a cold frame,
you may want to set mature seedlings outside when not freezing so
“harden off” and get stockier.
planning your vegetable garden layout, avoid planting members of the
family in the same spot they were in last year, or even the year
Members of the same family are susceptible to the same diseases and
For example, avoid planting members of the tomato family (tomatoes,
peppers, and eggplant) in the same place year after year. You may
rotate these crops with other
families such as the legumes (beans, peas), cabbage (cabbage, kale,
turnips), or the cucurbits (cucumber, melons, squash).
strawberry plants twice a week for signs of new growth. As soon as
sprouts, remove the straw mulch and spread it in the rows to help
weeds. A topdressing of an inch or two of compost will give plants a
growing raspberries, spring is the time to prune shoots before new
begins, if you didn’t last year. If
growing the “everbearing” or two-crop types such as ‘Heritage’ or
for just a fall crop, you can prune all shoots to the ground.
Summer-bearing types produce fruit on canes
from last year, so don’t prune these out or you won’t have any
fruit. Prune out canes that fruited last year,
usually those more woody, light in color, and brittle. For any
type, prune out canes that are weak
and spindly, leaving healthy ones 6-inches or so apart.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).