March Garden To-Do List

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Spring should be here very soon! March is an exciting month for gardening in the Florida panhandle. It’s time to get new plants established and weeds under control before the intense heat arrives. Here’s my to-do list for the month.

1. Till Garden Expansion 2014. DONE! See the whole addition here.

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2. Mulch the new garden ASAP! If you see a wild-eyed lady with a crazy ponytail picking up bags of leaves, it’s probably me. I’m going to continue to use leaves as mulch in my gardens.

3. Extend fence. I will post a tutorial on how to make your own soon. My fence costs very little, keeps the dog out, lets precious sunlight through, and requires no digging.

4. Assemble raised bed for pole beans and melons. I’m really excited about this addition. I’m planning to trellis the pole beans on a teepee for vertical interest and to add some flowers for color.

5. Plant seeds of green beans, cucumbers, squash, and melons directly in the garden. I will plant these in late March, after it warms up a bit. If you put seeds into the ground too early, germination will be poor and your little plants will struggle. If you could ask my poor little green beans from last year, they would tell you all about that story. 😦

I’ve already started tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They should be ready to go into the ground late March too. If you want to start your own, you can see how to start seeds here. Here in zone 8b, seed starting should be done right away (if you haven’t done so already) or you can buy transplants later. For an exhaustive list of when to plant various crops, visit the University of Florida’s planting calendar.

6. Mulch front flower beds with cypress mulch. I like the looks of cypress mulch, so I use that in the front. I want to put a thick layer on before all the weeds start growing.

7. Put ponytails on the cauliflower. DONE! 

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Aren’t they cute? This is called “blanching” and it keeps the sun off of the little cauliflowers. Because of the little ponytails, they will be white rather than yellow when it is time to harvest. They’ll be edible either way, but I prefer for them to be a crisp white.  I used rubber bands, but you could also use twine to accomplish the same purpose. Just be sure that it’s not too tight.

I think that’s it for now.  Did I forget anything? What are you planning to get done this month?

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