Wondering what vegetables to plant in March in zone 5b? You might not think there are any vegetables you can plant in March, but depending on the weather – it might be possible.
While it might not be possible to do much outside except wait for mud to dry up, there are many chores you can be doing inside in March. Here’s a list of garden chores for zone 5 so you can do more than dream of gardening!
Early Spring Zone 5 Gardening Chores
March is really still winter in Iowa. Basically in March, we’re waiting for the ground to thaw out, warm up, and dry up. When that’s happened, we’re ready to start planting a few things, but until then, here’s what you can do!
1. Plant cool season vegetables and annuals.
Which vegetables to plant in March depends substantially on your hardiness zone. My cold growing zone, 5b will be a lot different from someone else’s more temperate zone. If you don’t know your hardiness zone, make sure to click here to learn!
Which Vegetables to Plant in March
Make sure you have your seeds ready, because you can so fast growing cold weather crops directly in the ground in March In March in Zone 5, you can start sowing seeds outdoors once the ground is workable and the temperature has warmed up to about 40F.
These crops can be planted directly in the ground as soon as the soil has warmed up and is dry enough to work. You can also plant cool season annuals as soon as the ground is warm and dry, like pansies, if you can find them at the garden center. Make sure you include these top 10 early spring plants in your garden plan so can enjoy the earliest harvest possible.
Here is a list of plants to plant in March in your vegetable garden:
Plant Cold Frame
If it’s too cold to direct sow, you may be able to use a cold frame! If you have a cold frame, it’s time now to start easy-to- grow lettuce and spinach outside in the cold frame, even if the weather isn’t conducive to growing uncovered just yet! Soon you’ll be harvesting yummy greens. I love those first greens!
Here are a few delicious spring greens to grow this year!
2. Make new garden beds.
If you garden in beds, or would like to start, now is the perfect time to make new garden beds while you still have time. This is something you could have been working on all winter, too. You might also want to cover a couple of your garden beds to keep pests out and extend the growing season. This tutorial will help you easily cover your garden beds.
The nice thing about gardening in beds is they are usually ready to go before the ground. You don’t have till garden beds and you can put down plastic to help warm up the soil. If you don’t garden in beds, I recommend trying one out this year!
3. Prep the garden beds
Hopefully, the ground will have thawed and begin to warm very soon. Once it’s dry, usually by the middle to end of the month, go ahead and remove winter mulch and add a layer of leaf compost to your beds. Mix everything up nicely and as soon as the outside temps are warm enough, go ahead and plant those peas!
Peas do best when the temperature is in the 55 – 70 degree range, as early as 12 weeks before the last frost date. Germinating peas can tolerate temperatures as low as high 20s, but temperatures in the teens are to much for them and will kill them. Watch your forecast closely when planting those first early crops! Learn more about peas at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
4. Test the soil
Now’s also the time to test your garden soil so you know what nutrients need to be added before the growing season starts. You can send a soil sample to a university extension office for a fee – or you can buy a kit and test your own.
5. Organize your garden seeds
If you haven’t already done this, now is the perfect time to inventory and organize your garden seeds. Make sure you have everything you need to get going and order whatever else you might need. You can read all about my favorite garden seed organizer here. I love it so much!
6. Start your seedlings
March is time to start most of your garden seeds, if that’s something you like to do. Most seedlings need 6-8 weeks before the last frost date to grow big enough for planing, and with an average lost frost date of May 15, that’s right around the corner. Get my best tips and seed starting supply list here. And here are tips for starting broccoli and other pesky brassicas – which can be a tricky type of seedling to start.
March is time to start the following seedlings:
7. Plan your garden!
If you haven’t planned out your garden, this is also the time to finalize your garden plan and draw it out. It’s important to draw it out so you can remember from year to year what you plant where.
Remember that you need to rotate crops so keeping track is pretty important. Here are my best garden planning tips to help you out. Grab my free garden planting guide here so you know exactly when to plant what!
How to Grow Garden Vegetables Series
Want to learn how to grow all the garden vegetables? Check out my How to Grow Series and learn to garden like a champ! More posts coming soon!
- How to Grow Carrots from Planting to Harvest
- How to Grow Corn in Your Backyard Garden or Homestead
- How to Grow Brussel Sprouts
- How to Grow Rhubarb – Tips and Tricks for a Good Harvest
- Growing Snap Peas, Shelling Peas, and Snow Peas
- How to Grow Lettuce Like a Champ
- Growing Potatoes the No-Dig Way
- 11 Secret Tomato Growing Tips
- Beginner’s Guide to Growing Garlic
- How to Grow Broccoli from Planting to Harvest
What are you working in your garden this month? I’d love to hear what you’re up to. Happy gardening!
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