March is here, and with it the start of our 2023 growing season. While snow is still blanketing the ground—reminding us we’re still very much in the midst of winter—our grow room is set up and ready to house an abundance of seedlings over the next couple months. If you haven’t started planning your own garden for this year, now might be a good time to start thinking about what you want to grow and when to plant. Read on for some tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind when starting your garden.
In March the snow generally lingers and the temperatures remain cool, so you won’t want to start any seeds outdoors this early. However, if you’re starting seeds indoors there is some planting to be done. Early, cool-loving plants, and plants that take a long time to mature can be started.
For seeding in March consider:
- cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale)
When determining when to start your seeds it is best to look at the days to maturity on the seed packet. Working back from your last frost date (generally around May 10th in this region) you should be able to determine when to start your seeds. Most packets also have suggestions for when to seed. For example, the packet might read “sow four weeks before your last frost date.” In that case, simply sow those seeds indoors four weeks before May 10th.
If you do start seeds indoors it is imperative to harden them off before planting outside. Growing conditions in a well-lit, warm grow room are a far cry from the windy, sunny, rainy reality of the outdoors. In order to acclimate your starts you must slowly get them used to life outside. This is done by gradually increasing the amount of time your starts spend outside. Below is an example of a hardening off schedule.
Day 1: On a warm day (about 50-60°F), choose a wind-free spot. Some dappled shade may be good for the first day. Give your plants two hours of sunlight. Then bring in.
Day 2: In the same spot, leave your plants for three hours of sunlight. Bring inside.
Day 3: If you set your plants in a slightly shaded area before, you’ll want to make sure they are in full sun now. Set plants out for four hours in a spot with a gentle breeze. Bring inside.
Day 4: Set your seedlings out a little earlier to get them accustomed to cooler temperatures. Give them five hours of sunlight, but keep out of any heavy wind conditions still. Bring inside after five hours.
Day 5: Leave plants out all day. Be sure to check their soil—it may dry out faster in the sun and wind. Bring inside at end of day.
Day 6: Leave plants outside all day and night (only if temperatures are above freezing).
Day 7: Your starts are hardened off—time to plant! If a frost is predicted in the week after planting make sure to provide some sort of cover overnight for protection—something as simple as a sheet or two will work.
If this all sounds like too much work, don’t worry. Our pre-orders are open for another two weeks. Just remember to get your orders in by March 15! We’ll do all the work of seeding, watering, and hardening off—all you have to do is pick up your plant babes and put them in the ground. We’re ready to grow! Are you?
The Rosaly’s Crew