March Vegetable Gardening by Byron Chitwood, Master Gardener.
If you planted tomatoes, peppers and potatoes before the 14th of March, chances are that the vegetables suffered some frost damage. I visited with a large nursery in Frisco yesterday and they said that people got in a hurry to plant these sorts of things because of the mild weather we were having. I did have some tomato plants planted but they were in large pots and I have been putting in our warm garage overnight. However, my potatoes were up and suffered some frost damage. I don’t think it will be fatal for them. Just remember that the average date of our last killing frost is March 20. That means we can always have one or more after March 20 so with frost sensitive vegetables, it is better to wait until after April 1 to transplant them to your garden plot.
After March 20, it is ok to plant all kinds of beans and peas, corn, cucumbers, egg plants, mustard greens, squash, tomatoes and watermelon. After April 1, okra, field peas, and pepper plants can be planted. Check the local weather station for the possibility of frost and be prepared to cover these plants in case of temperatures predicted in the los thirties. Some of the vegetables that are planted from seeds might not germinate properly if the soil is too cold when they are planted. If they have not all germinated and sprouted within two weeks, replant w here needed. Sometimes, green beans will sprout in cold soil but the infant plants will not have good leaves. Replant these too since they will not develop into productive plants.
If you have a very large garden plot and plan to plant green beans, rather than plant them all at once, stagger planting dates every five to ten days. That way, you will have a lengthened harvest period. You might get tired of eating green beans every day but I’ll bet that your neighbors won’t.
If you plant a lot of your vegetables from seed, they will need ample water to germinate and grow an ample root system. Keep the soil moist until after the seeds have germinated and developed a good root system. If it is a dry spring, water the plants at the first sign of wilting. Rainwater is the best for your garden but if there is not enough frequent rains, tap water is the second best.
There are certainly more vegetables than are mentioned in this article. The stores that supply seeds and transplants are beginning to carry a large variety than what you probably grew up with. Some of these are Bok Choy, Chinese cabbage, and different varieties of squash and green beans. The seed packets usually give all the planting instructions that are needed.
I have said many times that gardening is one of the best therapies that there is. If you are not now a vegetable gardener, start with a small plot and add to it through the years. You will reach a point where the intrusive weeds will outpace your ability to keep the garden properly weeded. Keep the size of the garden plot that you are most comfortable with. If tended properly, it will provide many hours of satisfying therapy plus furnish plenty of fresh vegetables.