In many areas of the country, March weather is locked in winter's chilly embrace. Sowing seeds outdoors before the last frost date can be disastrous and disappointing to the hopeful spring gardener. The safest and easiest way to start seeds in March is indoors, regardless of where you live. Prepare by having the proper materials and follow a plan until you achieve success with seedlings that can be transplanted after all threat of frost is past.
Choose seeds to sow in March based on germination schedule. Ideal crops include seeds that will be germinated and ready to transplant on or after the last frost date in your area. Consult the USDA climate zone map (see Resources) for help determining frost dates and cold hardiness.
Mix one part each of loam, sand, and organic matter in a wheelbarrow using a shovel. Sift the mixture through a mesh screen to break up large pieces. This soil mixture provides the best proportions of nutrients and drainage for seeds to germinate. A commercial seed start mix may also be used.
Prepare peat pots by filling with soil and gently firming around the sides and up to 1/4 inch from the top of the pot.
Mark a pencil with lines at 1/2 and 1/4 inch from the tip. This will be your planting tool.
Use the guidelines provided on seed packets for planting depth. Make a depression to the correct depth using the pencil, and plant no more than 3 seeds per peat pot.
Cover the seeds with a fine layer of sand to keep them in place.
Water using a mist spray to avoid seed displacement.
Cover the peat pots with plastic and leave in a warm room until germination occurs. This time span will vary depending on the plant, but a small seedling appearing at the soil's surface is your cue.
Remove plastic cover as soon as germination occurs. Place in direct sunlight or use supplemental florescent lighting if necessary. Continue growing indoors until the seedlings can be transplanted safely outside.