Though the first day of spring is in March, the weather may still be too cold outside to really start your garden. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to wait until the weather warms up enough to get those veggies in the ground or begin germinating your plants indoors.
Instead of holding off, you may want to start some of those seeds indoors. Doing so ensures that they’ll have sprouted well ahead of going into the garden when there is no more risk of frost. Starting seeds early also ensures you have some veggies to harvest in late spring and early summer, plus it allows for multiple plantings of certain plants. Here’s our list of a few of the plants you should start growing in March.
Peas grow best from seeds, so starting them in the house is easy to do. In fact, these veggies do well in cooler weather, so you can even start them outdoors in milder climates. As long as they don’t get hit with any frost when you eventually transfer them outside, they will thrive. They don’t always like to be transplanted, though, so you do need to be extra careful when doing so to prevent damage to the roots and shoots.
Peas like moist soil that drains well and about 8 hours of full sun after they begin to sprout. They also require some sort of trellis or support, depending on how large they get before transferring them outdoors. There are several varieties to try, including Dwarf Gray Sugar, Super Sugar Snap, or Little Marvel, so you can plant a few types or stick with a favorite.
There are a variety of salad greens to choose from, including lettuce, kale, and spinach. These are great for indoor growing because they sprout quickly, ensuring you’ll have a decent crop before spring is even over. These greens can be moved outside as soon as there is no longer a frost risk, and some varieties even before that. You can also use multiple plantings to ensure your salad crops last all year long, planting new seeds directly into the soil every 2 to 3 weeks.
Though you can use a regular planting mix for lettuce, both kale and spinach prefer an organic potting mix to give them the nutrients needed. They all need good drainage for their containers to be sure the roots don’t rot. Plenty of sun is also best for indoor and outdoor placement of your greens.
Beets are considered cool weather crops, so depending on the area you live in, you can start them outside in March as soon as the soil is workable. Even frost isn’t an issue with these tasty and nutritious veggies, so you can plant them 4 weeks before the last frost without fear of killing them. If you want an even earlier crop, you can also start them indoors, though you do need to be careful since beets are another crop that is tricky to transplant.
Regardless of where you’re starting the beets, be sure the soil is light-textured, with no stones, sticks, or other debris nearby. Any of these can cause splits or malformed beets, so avoid them if possible. Adding some compost to the soil retains moisture and provides the beets with nutrients as well. Full sun is also a must for the best yield possible.
Tomatoes are delicious, nutritious, and versatile, making them a great choice for any garden. With so many varieties to choose from, you can try a new one every year or plant a few options to mix it up a bit in your kitchen. Tomatoes can be started 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost, which is relatively early compared to some other plants. This extra time ensures that you have a decent plant ready to go into the ground once the weather warms up.
For the best results, use a quality seed starting soil mix to ensure the tomato seeds are getting the right nutrients. Make sure the soil is damp when planting and keep the container near a window that gets a lot of bright light. You can use a heat mat to speed up germination and make sure all of the seeds germinate at the same time.
Spring onions go by several names, depending on where you’re located, including shallots, salad onions, green onions, scallions, or tree onions. Regardless of what you call them, they are a great little veggie to start early in the year. They can be started from seeds you’ve purchased or those you’ve collected and dried from the previous year’s crop.
Seed growing soil is best for spring onions. Use a water bottle to mist the soil to keep it damp. You may also want to use a plastic bag to cover the container for a greenhouse effect. These little plants germinate in only 2 weeks, so starting them in mid to late March will still give you a decent first crop. You can also plant new onions every 3 to 4 weeks to ensure a continual harvest.
There are so many different herbs to choose from that can be started indoors in March. These include dill, basil, parsley, mint, chives, coriander, sage, or thyme. Even planting a few seeds of each can create a decent herb garden once the weather warms up and you can move them outside.
Herbs don’t take up very much space in the early stages of their growth, so you may be able to fit a few of them in a single container. You can also use egg cartons for planters, filling each cup with soil and adding a seed or two to start before moving them outside.
A variety of herbs can complement any meal you plan to prepare, plus they are quite nutritious, with each herb offering its own health benefits. Some of them even repel pests from your garden and yard as a bonus. You may even want to look into companion plants since placing some herbs and veggies next to each other actually improves growth for even better harvests.