One of my sisters sent me a quote from a book she was reading. The quote was about the patience gardeners must have! I chuckled in amusement because I’m definitely not patient this time of year. I can’t wait to plant all the seeds I ordered from my exotic seed catalogs. I meticulously examine the new growth in my garden each morning searching to see which bulbs have multiplied or which perennials didn’t make it through the winter.

After three days of balmy spring weather, my gardening stomach begins to growl with planting hunger. So how do I stave off that impatient sense of planting urgency? I take care of my March checklist. I still get to dig in the dirt, even if it’s for pulling up winter weeds!


  1. March is the month for fertilizing everything. I avoid chemical fertilizers, opting for seaweed molasses emulsions and compost tea.
  2. Did you forget to plant your shrubs and trees in the fall? Don’t worry! March still gives you enough time for tender starters to establish themselves before the unexpected Texas spring warm winds start to blow in earnest.
  3. Critters like aphids become a problem on sprouting young spring growth. Start spraying this month with your home-made insecticide (2 T liquid soap and 1 gallon water). This insecticide is gentle enough to use on houseplants also. Slugs and snails come out of winter hibernation this month but can be controlled with baits and hand picking. In the evening, I slightly bury in the dirt, just up to lip level, a pie pan full of beer. Slugs will be drawn to the beer and drown.  Empty the beer and drowned dead slugs each morning and add fresh beer. Rotate the location, depending on where you’ve noticed the most snail activity.
  4. Start pruning your shrubs immediately if you haven’t done so already. An easy reminder for me is to prune my roses Valentine’s week. Be kind to your plants and prune with sharp tools which fit your hand well and are comfortable to use.
  5. If you haven’t benefited from rain showers once a week, supplemental watering is necessary. Watch the forecast though and do not overwater. Your plants should be fine since you’ve already mulched well.
  6. If all your garden chores are done and you’re still longingly driving by nurseries, go ahead and indulge; buy some whimsical yard art which is usually on clearance at this time because it is left over from last year and new stock hasn’t arrived yet.

Are you stuck in the impatient throws of gardening spring fever?

Gardeners are good at the business of waiting, they are in tune with the rhythms of the earth, which are slow. There is no anxiety in this kind of waiting, only anticipation.

Anuradha Roy

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