March can be an exciting and very busy month for gardeners!  

We have a list of things to help you get started. Of course you may have to adjust to your growing area, as we are all different. We are in zone 8. 

Sowing and Growing

A lot of seed can be sown in March, but keep a good eye on the weather. Snow and cold winds will put gardeners on hold and it’s usually worth waiting for better conditions. If its to cold outside, then wait before sowing into outdoor beds or start seeds in pots. These can go into a cold frame or even under sheltered areas or tunnels. Choose seeds that don’t need added heat and be prepared to look after small plants until weather allows you to plant them out. Many vegetable varieties are at a cross over point, meaning you can plant either by seeds or transplants.  

Sow Now

Beets, leeks, celeriac, Brussels sprouts, peas, broad beans, lettuce, parsnips, salad leaves, spinach, summer cabbage, cauliflower and turnips.  

Plant Now

Onion plants, shallots, early potatoes, peas, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, leeks.

Keep plants frost free. Cover newly planted onion and potato leaves because they can be killed by frost if they emerge in cold weather. New onions can bolt if they are hit by a hard freeze.

Make mulch your best friend this year! Mulch holds in moisture, helps prevent weeds and helps cool roots when the hot summer sun comes. Start to Mulch between rows of established plants in the vegetable garden and perennial gardens. 

Mulch asparagus beds

While they are still dormant, it’s the ideal time to give them a final clean through in readiness for the new spears that appear in coming months. Carefully remove any weeds along the rows, taking care not to disturb the shallow roots or new shoots that are only a few inches below the surface. When weed free, apply a good thick mulch of garden compost, composted manure or mushroom compost over the bed. Ideally, it should be around 2 inches deep or even a little more. This will help seal in the moisture through the growing season, keep the soil in good, fertile condition and smother any weeds. 

Plant New Strawberry Plants

You will often see pots of strawberry plants for sale in March. These may already have open flowers or they may have small buds, or just show promise of later flowers with some healthy foliage.  Be picky and look for the strongest plants that you can. Strawberries do well with some good garden compost dug into the bed.  Scatter kelp meal, and bone meal into the bed and slightly work in. If your soil is alkaline, using an Acid Mix fertilizer may be a better choice of plant food. We don’t use manure, as we find we get more leaf and fewer fruits. Mulch to keep the soil moist and weeds down. If birds are an issuer you may want to cover with floating row cover or Bird-X

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Fire Cider….Plus

Every herbalist has their own version of Fire Cider. Even I like to create mine different, for the different needs at different times. But there are the basics that fire cider is made with.

This vinegar concoction has a bold taste with an interesting combination of sweetness, sourness and spice. Most take fire cider is taken during winter months as a preventive remedy from colds and flu.


1 cup minced yellow onion

1/2 cup grated horseradish

1/4 cup minced garlic

1/4 cup grated ginger

1/4 piece of fresh cayenne or 1/2 teaspoon dried cayenne, or to taste

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 teaspoon whole black peppercorn

1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1/4 cup raw honey, or more to taste

2 2/3 cups raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Place the onions, horseradish, garlic, herbs, spices, and lemon into a 1 quart jar. Add honey. Fill the jar with vinegar. Be sure to cover all the ingredients. Cover with a glass or plastic lid. If using a metal lid, place parchment or wax paper between the lid and the jar. Vinegar will corrode metal lids, and we certainly don’t need those toxins in our fire cider. Shake well. Let the jar sit for 2 to 3 weeks. For the first few days, shake the jar well once a day. Strain the vinegar into a clean jar. Refrigerate and use within a year.

When a body needs an extra boost of immunity you can add other ingredients to your fire cider. Particularly this year I have added a couple key ingredients to help my immune system. By adding Elderberry and Astragalus, it will improve your immunity power! I add 1/4 cup of each.

If you are taking fire cider as a preventive remedy, take a tablespoon, one to three times per day. If you are using it to ward something off, take a tablespoon every hour. It can be diluted with a little water or even used as a salad dressing.

Almost all of these ingredients can be grown organically at home. Horseradish is a perennial that can be grown and harvested in the late fall or early spring. It seems to have better flavor than anything I can buy.

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Growing Peas

Peas are a cool-weather crop that is easy to grow and rewarding.  Fresh peas are a delight beyond any frozen and especially canned!  Tender shoots and pods can be used as well as the peas themselves.

Peas need a sunny location with rich loam soil.  Work the soil over to the depth of 1 foot, incorporating well-rotted organic matter (compost).  Good drainage is essential, as peas are prone to rotting.  If your soil is acidic, add lime at this time.  

Peas can be sown from fall to spring.  However, in frosty areas , sow your crop so that it isn’t in flower when frosts occur, as these can affect both flowers and pods.  The ideal temperature range for flowering and harvesting is 65-80 degrees.  Look at the maturity date on pea package to help you figure pod development time.  Example:  Green Arrow matures in 68 days.  Subtract 10 days for beginning flowering time ….Give or take a few because of weather conditions.  Green Arrow peas should be planted no earlier than 58 days before your first frost in spring.  In our zone 8 we plant peas the first week in February for the best crop.  When temperatures are over 86 degrees poor pollination, lower yields and rapid development to over-maturity occurs.

I have learned some great tips over several decades that have been fool-proof for planting peas.  Peas are best sown directly into dark, damp soil.  To do this, water the prepared bed well the day before planting and sow seeds 3/4” deep and 2” apart.  Press down firmly with your hand, and don’t water again until shoots emerge within a week to 10 days.  Many times peas sit in the ground soaking up water and never sprouting because we have loved them to much with water! Growing Peas

Snap Pea

Peas are natural climbers and don’t take up much space, which makes them easy to squeeze into even the smallest of gardens.  If you are growing the true climbing varieties, sow them next to a fence or support at least 6’ high and weave their shoots through this as they grow.  Be sure to loosely tie them to the support as they grow, because spring winds can pull the plants away just when they are in full flower.  The dwarf type only grow to 2’ high, but they crop better if their tendrils can cling to a low trellis, fence or tepee for support.  Making a criss-cross fence with bamboo is perfect for dwarf peas and quit lovely in the garden as well. 

Peas will fruit best as weather warms in early spring.  The main harvest period is just over two to three weeks for shelling peas (English), so sow successive crops at two to three week intervals.  Pick peas every few days to keep the plant producing well.  The more you pick, the more you encourage further flowering and cropping.  When a plant has finished producing, cut it down to the ground, leaving the roots in the soil to boost nitrogen levels.  

 Peas are legumes and are actually able to improve the soil through nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots.  These nodules draw nitrogen from the air and return it to the soil for use by future crops. Grow leafy green vegetable in the soil after harvesting and removing pea plant (leaving roots), and they will flourish.

Did you know you can harvest pea shoots?  The top 2-3” of young seedlings’ growth can be added to salads.  Pinching out shoots encourages branching and stimulates the plant to flower and fruit more. 

Sugar Snap Pea:  These are crunchy, sweet, edible pods that enclose full-size peas.  They are available as climbing varieties and dwarf.  Sugar Ann is an excellent and long time favorite snap pea of mine.  

Snow Pea:  These are best eaten when the immature pods are still young and flat.  The entire pea and pod are eaten.  Melting Mammoth is one of our favorites. 

Shelling Pea or English Pea:  These are the traditional peas.  The pods are discarded and the pea inside is sweet and juicy.  Some pods can be left on the vine to produce dried peas for soups.  Green Arrow has a nice large pod filled with delicate plump and delicious peas.  Another favorite. 

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Calming the Senses

Lavender is a one of my favorite garden perennials. It not only smells lovely, is lovely, but it is calming to the senses. Lavender has an array of uses, from culinary to medicine to crafts.

Wherever you see lavender grow, you will notice people, bees and butterflies flocking to its blooms durning the heat of the summer. The essential oil made from the plant is considered to be “first aid in a bottle” and is found in herbal remedies for anxiety, sleep problems, stress, migraines and other headaches. Lavender is considered to be a mild antidepressant… it helps lift the sprits.

Lavender is easy to grow. Give it plenty of sunshine, a minimum of eight hours for best growth, and well drained soil is essential. If your soil is heavy clay you will need to help it drain by mixing in a good amount of sand or top soil (not to rich) to the existing soil to help it drain. Heavy soil that doesn’t drain is the biggest problem with not being able to keep lavender alive. It does best in zones 5 through 8, but there are some varieties that are bred for colder climates.

One of my favorite winter time teas includes lavender. Winter time we don’t always get enough sunshine and the blues can strike! This blend definitely lifts my spirits, AND it taste so good. You can blend enough of these herbs together to share with a friend as well. Store in an airtight container out of light.

Uplifting Winter Time Tea

1 part chamomile (calming and relaxing)

1 part lemon balm (uplifting)

1/2 part rose petals (helps ease winter blues)

1/4 part lavender flower (uplifting)

Steep 1-2 tablespoons of herb mix in hot water for 10-15 minutes and drink 2-4 times a day.

To this blend I often add other herbs depending on my bodies needs. Milky oats and skullcap, 1/8 part each help keep my mind clear and and body nourished. All these herbs are nervines.

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