Monthly Garden Calendar for Southwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By John Dromgoole



By the time March arrives, preparations for the late spring and early summer garden should be in full swing. There's only one problem —it can still get very cold and even freeze. So, keep handy whatever devices you used all winter to protect your garden—you may still need to them. At least keep a floating row cover available to wrap tomato cages or cover flower and veggie transplants.

Mulching Tip. Pull back mulch from the garden to allow the soil to warm quickly and eliminate the habitat for pillbugs and other seedling-eaters. Warm soil will let you plant early in the month, and that means crops and flowers can mature in early June before the heat of July sets in.

Rose Care. Prune roses very early in March since we are already past the recommended time of mid-February.

Plant Flowers for Cutting. Try yarrow (several colors), gayfeather and coneflowers. Try salvias, too, of which there are many to choose from. Then add some annuals for the cutting garden like zinnias("Blue Point"), purple fountain grass, annual statice, crested cockscombs, and the many wonderful sunflower varieties.

Plant Veggies Early in the Month. Go to town with beets, lettuce, collards, potatoes, mustard and corn. Indoor starts of tomatoes, squash, cukes, melons, eggplant and peppers can be seeded in community flats then pricked out directly into the garden.

Beautiful Bulbs. Plant summer bulbs like glads early in the month with a last planting by mid-month. Hold off on caladiums until the end of the month since they don't like cold soils and could rot easily.