Spring Gardening: March Garden Checklist Zones 6-8

by Jack Grover
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The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a convenient way to determine which plants will thrive in your location.

According to it, zones 6-8 include Washington, Oregon, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

These zones are perfect for growing plants that require temperatures from -10 to 20°F.

Our checklist for March provides a useful set of guidelines that accommodates their unique regional peculiarities.

We also share maintenance tips and outdoor planting recommendations for each zone.

So, grab your gardening gloves, and let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Get your soil tested. The local extension office can provide valuable information about what’s in your soil. It can help you decide what to plant.
  • Make sure your gardening tools are ready before spring.
  • Stay on top of garden upkeep. Do things like rotating crops, routine weeding, adding mulch, and regular pruning.
  • Start planting your seeds indoors to get a larger harvest.
  • Adjust how you plant based on where you live. Different zones (6, 7, or 8) have different suitable plants, so choose wisely for a successful growing season.

Soil Testing and Plant Research

Visit your local extension office for a soil test and expert advice. This step is crucial for successful gardening.

The soil test will provide valuable information about the composition of your soil, including its pH levels and nutrient content.

With this knowledge, you can decide which plants will thrive in your garden.

By researching native plants, you can choose species that are well-suited to your climate and soil conditions. It will reduce the need for excessive maintenance and watering.

The experts at the extension office can also provide guidance on plant care and answer any questions you may have.

Preparing Garden Tools and Supplies

Assess and clean your garden tools, making necessary repairs or replacements before starting your spring preparations. It’s essential to have your tools in good working condition for the upcoming gardening season.

Here are some tips to help you get your tools ready:

  • Check each tool for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
  • Clean the tools thoroughly to remove dirt, rust, and debris.
  • Sharpen blades and oil any moving parts to ensure smooth operation.

Spring Garden Maintenance Tips

Avoid walking or driving in the garden when the soil is saturated to prevent compaction and damage to the plants. Instead, wait until the soil has dried out a bit before venturing into the garden.

In the spring, turn over nitrogen-fixing cover crops before they go to seed. It will improve soil health and prevent the growth of weeds.

At the same time, pulling weeds and adding mulch can further enhance the health of your garden.

If you have trees and shrubs in your garden, consider pruning them after winter, but seek expert advice if you need more clarification.

Indoor Seed Starting and Branch Forcing

Based on your planting zone’s expected last frost date, begin planting seeds indoors and carry on with staggered plantings every fortnight. This scheduled method will help extend your harvest significantly.

Below are the estimated last frost dates for each zone, along with the recommended times to start indoor seed planting:

  • Zone 6: The last frost is typically predicted for April 30. Therefore, to ensure your plants are frost-ready, start indoor seed planting in the early days of March.
  • Zone 7: Here, it is usually safe from frost after April 15. To benefit from this, start the indoor seeding process in late February, continuing throughout March.
  • Zone 8: This zone is expected to be frost-free from April 1. To use this to your advantage, begin planting seeds indoors from mid-February until early March.

Here are some indoor seed starting tips:

  • Choose the right seeds: Select seeds that are suitable for indoor planting and that align with your gardening goals.
  • Provide adequate light: Place your seedlings near a sunny window or use grow lights to ensure they receive enough light for healthy growth.
  • Maintain proper temperature and humidity: Keep your seeds in a warm and humid environment to promote germination and growth.
  • Monitor watering: Water your seedlings regularly, making sure not to overwater or let them dry out.

Zone 6: Outdoor Planting Recommendations

outdoor potato plant

If you’re a resident of Zone 6 and keen on giving your outdoor space a dash of green, we’ve got some expert-tested planting recommendations just for you.

Zone 6 enjoys a generous stretch of pleasant weather. This climatic friendliness allows you to indulge in an extensive variety of both annual and perennial plants. Let’s break these down into bite-sized nuggets of information.

First on the list are the annuals. These vibrant flowers bloom once and then bid their final farewell. Consider adding a touch of classic marigold or the flamboyant zinnia to your garden palette.

For something more delicate, impatiens is another beautiful candidate.

Switching gears to perennials now. These are the hardy souls that promise to return every year, bringing along their vibrancy with them. Among the stars of this category, we have hostas and daylilies, very popular due to their resilient nature and ability to bloom multiple times.

Regarding trees and shrubs, Japanese maples are a favorite in Zone 6. Their dramatic autumn hues will give your yard a picturesque appeal year after year.

Finally, let’s tap into fruits and vegetables.

If you fancy rocking the status of an urban farmer, good news! Everything from tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers to strawberries and blueberries will flourish under Zone 6’s friendly skies.

Nonetheless, giving these vegetables the right conditions to thrive is crucial. A cold frame will protect them from harsh temperatures and allow them to continue growing even during the colder months.

Choose a sunny spot in your garden for the cold frame and provide adequate ventilation to prevent overheating.

Zone 7: Outdoor Planting Recommendations

close up photo of broccoli

If you live in Zone 7, you’re gifted with a wide array of plants that thrive beautifully.

The temperatures here range from 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. Luckily, this doesn’t put a damper on the blooming potential of your garden.

Spring and early summer are usually the best times for planting in this area.

For example, spring is a perfect time to plant broccoli, cauliflower, and peas. With optimal temperatures and abundant sunlight, these nutrient-packed vegetables will surely thrive.

Native selections like Rhododendrons and Dogwood trees also promise spectacular blooms year after year. They’re easy to grow and crave little attention once established.

Zone 8: Outdoor Planting Recommendations

person holding purple colored vegetable in hand

Zone 8 is a gardener’s delight. Its mild conditions open the door to a vast array of planting possibilities.

First and foremost, did you know that Zone 8 is an area perfect for year-round planting? Yes, that’s right! Its mild winters and warm summers make it possible to grow not just a wide variety of plants but to grow them all year round.

Now, let’s dive into detail.

For those looking to spruce up their landscape with perennial plants, consider adding daylilies or hydrangeas. These hardy varieties flourish lying tucked away in Zone 8 surroundings.

Maybe your preference leans towards fresh vegetables instead? In that case, you’re spoiled for choice, too. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and several squash varieties would bask in the delightful climate of Zone 8.

Other vegetable staples for planting in Zone 8 during spring include spinach, lettuce, radishes, and beetroot. Each of these vegetables embraces the mild spring temperatures of Zone 8, ensuring a bountiful harvest.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are situated in Zone 6, 7, or 8, preparing your garden for spring requires precise planning and timely execution.

Your first task should be to test your soil. This critical step will give you a clear understanding of its health. Knowing this can help you determine what nutrients might be missing and which crops will flourish in your unique environment.

Next, ensure that all your gardening tools are in good condition. Sharp, sturdy tools make gardening easier and more efficient.

Creating a suitable planting schedule is vital, too. It’s essential to know when different plants should be sown. Planting at the wrong time can lead to weak growth or failed harvests.

Incorporate these techniques into your gardening routine and reap the benefits. You’ll have a lively and plentiful garden to admire and enjoy throughout the season!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I attract pollinators to my garden?

To attract pollinators to your garden, plant native flowers and provide a water source. Avoid using pesticides and cultivate a variety of plants that bloom throughout the growing season.

What common pests and diseases should I be aware of during the spring?

The most common pests and diseases in the spring are aphids, slugs, powdery mildew, and fungal diseases.

Regularly inspect your plants, use organic pest control methods, and maintain good air circulation to prevent and treat these issues.

Can I start planting warm-season vegetables in March?

Yes, you can. Check your planting zone’s guidelines for recommended vegetables.

Prepare the soil, buy seeds, and follow proper planting and care instructions for a successful harvest.

How often should I water my plants during the spring?

During spring, water your plants regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Monitor the weather conditions and adjust the watering frequency as needed. Remember to water deeply to encourage strong root growth.

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