Design a Landscape Plan
March is the month to "spring" into action on the gardening front.
Okay, so it's still winter outside your window with lingering
snow and cold temperatures. Although you may not be able to
go outdoors and till the soil, you can get your hands dirty with
some indoor gardening, beginning with planting some of the slower
growing seeds for transplant when spring really does arrive.
Begonias, coleus, and petunias need extra time to sprout, so
sow seeds in early March. Use a soil-less mix of perlite,
vermiculite, and peat moss. Add some fertilizer to give the
plants an extra boost. Toward the end of the month start seeds
of cabbage, broccoli, alyssum, and early lettuce.
You will have to wait for another month before starting other
transplants including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and most flowers,
however. The seed packet will provide information on whether
or not the seeds should be started indoors--and when--or if they
can be planted directly in the garden. Generally, you need
to count backwards from the average last frost date for your area
to determine when to start your seeds indoors.
Another indoor gardening project for March is propagation of
houseplants by taking cuttings. Most, but not all, plants
can be propagated by this method.
Fill a small pot with soil-less potting mix. Then with
a sharp knife, cut off the top three to four inches of a healthy
stem tip or side stem. Be sure to include a growing tip and
two or three pairs of leaves. Remove the leaves along the
bottom part so you are left with a bare stem to insert into potting
Dip the cut end into hormone rooting powder. Poke holes
into the potting soil for the cuttings. Water well before
placing in a warm (65 to 70 degrees F) location. In about
four weeks cuttings should be big enough to repot singly in small
One of the newest tools for planning a new landscape or revitalizing
an existing one is landscape computer imaging. By scanning
a picture of your landscape into the computer, the landscape designer
can create a number of different plans for your approval, incorporating
plants, pathways, a pool or water garden, or anything else that
you'd like to include. It's a cost-effective way to come up
with the perfect year-round landscape plan for your property.
This is a good time to take a walk around your house, checking
out the views from every window. Does your landscape have
visual interest, even when there's snow on the ground? If
not, consider including trees and shrubs with winter appeal such
as the red fruits of winterberry, or the red or yellow stems of
the shrub dogwood in your landscape plan.
In March bluebirds return to the north country and start searching
for suitable nesting sites. You can help their efforts by
constructing a bluebird house in your backyard. Bluebirds
are very fussy about where they live and the type of box they select
for their nest, so you should buy a bluebird house at your local
garden center or make your own. Visit your local library for
a book on building birdhouses for exact specifications.
Other activities for March: visit a sugarhouse; order summer
flower bulbs; buy a shamrock plant or a bunch of green and white
carnations for St. Patrick's Day;
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
Bluegrass Gardens Nursery Plants