What to Plant Now: March in Central and Midwest Gardening Region

By Staff
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What to Plant in March | Central/Midwest Region

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“Most plants are very sensitive to day length. When day length increases, they immediately begin to add new growth. Tomatoes and other seedlings can catch this wave of momentum; large containers will keep them from becoming root-bound before outdoor temperatures warm.”
Gardener’s Almanac, February-March 2004

If you’re not sure how to start seeds or when to set out transplants, see the Resources section below.

To read more about what to plant in other months and regions, visit our What to Plant Now home page.

For planting times specific to your zip code, check out the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Vegetable Garden Planner.

Top Crops for Central and Midwest Gardening:

Here are the Top Ten crops for the Midwest region, followed by other recommended crops, as rated in our National Survey of Most Productive Garden Crops. (The criteria for selection include ease of culture, efficient use of garden space and time, ease of storage and desirability at the table.) The recommended crops are sorted by plant family to help you plan rotations so that the same plant families are not grown consecutively in the same area, as much as possible.

Top 10 Crops: Central and Midwest Region

  1. Slicing tomato
  2. Sweet pepper
  3. Cherry tomato
  4. Onion
  5. Bush snap bean
  6. Carrot
  7. Garlic
  8. Paste tomato
  9. Snow/snap pea
  10. Lettuce

Other Highly Recommended Crops:

Cabbage family: Broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi 

Cucumber family: Cucumberpumpkinsummer squash, winter squash 

Leafy greens: Arugula, chardmustard (all types), pac choi, sorrel, spinach, turnip 

Legumes: Dry soup beans, pole snap beans, shell peas, Southern peas

Root crops:Beet, parsnip, potato, rutabaga, shallotturnip 

Tomato family: Hot peppers, tomatillo

Miscellaneous:  Asparagusleekokra, rhubarbscallion, sweet corn 


* To learn more about when to sow seeds (indoors and outdoors) or when to transplant your seedlings to the garden, see: Know When to Plant What: Find Your Average Last Spring Frost Date.

* To learn more about how to start seeds, check out Seed-starting Basics. For a primer on how to transplant seedlings, see Garden Transplanting: Expert Advice.

* Find garden seeds from great mail-order companies with our Plant and Seed Finder.

* Learn more about high-quality seeds and great seed companies in Best Seeds for a Bigger, Better Garden and Best Garden Seed Companies.

* You might also try swapping seeds locally.

* For tips on growing everything from artichokes to winter squash, see our Crop-by-Crop Growing Guide.

Don’t live in the Midwest? Find garden planning information for your area.