Get It Growing: March in the garden

Welcome back, gardeners!

The Clallam County Master Gardeners’ “Get it Growing” column has returned from hibernation!

This heralds the approach of Spring! In fact, the first day of spring, or Vernal Equinox, is Tuesday, March 19! Vernal translates to new and equinox is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). This marks the turning point when the amount of daylight begins to win out over darkness.

Although the days are getting longer and the weather is warming up, patience is a gardener’s best friend this time of year. With that in mind, here is a “don’t do” list for gardening in March:

• Don’t dig in your garden areas until the soil is dry enough to be worked. Doing so will damage the soil structure, which leads to poor aeration and drainage. To test if your soil is dry enough, take a handful of soil and squeeze it into a ball. If it falls apart when touched, it is ready; if it stays in a ball, it is not.

• Don’t let the weeds in your garden bloom and go to seed. Pull or at least top the weeds to avoid the seeds spreading. Once weeded, temporarily cover the area with a dark porous barrier, or cardboard, to greatly reduce new weed growth until you are ready to plant.

• Don’t, or try not to, disturb the soil in your planting beds. Doing so will bring dormant weed seed to the surface and can disturb many beneficial organisms that help improve the soil.

• Don’t forget to carefully inspect your plants; looking for signs of winter damage from wind, snow, and animals. March is a good time to prune out obviously dead or broken branches. Look for signs of animal damage, especially from rodents, and make sure mulch is several inches away from the trunk or base of the plant.

• Don’t give up on heavily damaged plants. Hold off on fertilizer until they start to successfully bud out. These plants will need time to recover. Treat them as if newly planted and give supplemental water for the year.

• Don’t pass up good deals on bare-root plants or summer bulbs that have been handled properly. If the roots have been kept cool and moist, there is still time to plant. Bare-root trees are easier to plant and an economical way to purchase plants.

• Lastly, don’t forget to check out our free video recordings on a wide variety of gardening topics! It is a great way to enjoy gardening on those days when the weather makes it difficult to be outside.

First, go to this link:, and then click on “Educational Activities” along the left margin to open up a wonderful universe of gardening!

From there, you can also download our 2024 Master Gardener Event Schedule to see all the amazing things we do throughout the year, from Green Thumb presentations to Digging Deeper Saturdays, to plant clinics, to demonstration garden tours and radio programs.

Also posted on that website is information about our two premier annual events: the Master Gardener Plant Sale on May 4 and the Petals and Pathways Home Garden Tour on June 22.

March educational opportunities:

• Two amazing Green Thumb presentations will be offered in March. Both start at noon. On March 14, Master Gardener Pam Pace will talk all about “Culinary Aromatics.” On March 28, local gardener Tom Riette’s will present “A Master Laborer’s Guide to Automated Drip Irrigation.” For more information, visit our website listed above. Note: the location of our Green Thumb series has changed. The new location is the St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 510 East Park Avenue in Port Angeles.

• The 23rd-annual Soroptimist Gala Garden Show is taking place Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17, at the Sequim Boys and Girls Club, 400 W. Fir St. It’s a wonderful place to get excited about spring and to surround yourself with plants, garden art and more. Master Gardeners will have an information booth and are pleased to offer amazing speakers both days. For more information about the show, go to

Finally, remember that a garden journal is a great way to keep track of what you do and how things worked out, to guide future gardening endeavors.

Happy growing!

Susan Kalmar and Dave Eberle are certified WSU Master Gardeners.