It’s that time of year in the gardening calendar when everything kicks off. The list of things to do in your garden in March appears endless. I’ve narrowed it down to a few jobs, but I’m sure you can find more to add!
- Prepare vegetable beds by weeding, removing old growth, and adding compost. I couldn’t do this last month as the soil in my garden was too wet and cold.
- Sow tomatoes, chillis, sweet peppers, aubergines, celeriac, celery, lettuces and parsley indoors.
- Sow hardy vegetables, such as broad beans, beetroot, carrot, chicory, Swiss chard, spinach and spring-onions outdoors, but cover them with cloches or protective fleece.
- Plant early potatoes in trenches in your vegetable plot or in large tubs. Last year the potatoes grown in my large tubs were far more productive than those grown in the garden.
- Plant onion and shallot sets.
- Begin the regular task of hoeing the vegetable beds.
- If you want your strawberries to fruit early, cover them with a cloche.
- Mulch rhubarb plants with a thick layer of well-rotted manure. This will keep the plant healthy and reduce moisture loss. Be careful not to cover the crown, as this is where the growth happens.
- Mulch your fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost.
- Snap off any developing seed heads on daffodils and other spring bulbs, but leave the foliage to die back naturally.
- Finish pruning roses early in the month.
- Fertilise your beds by scattering over a general-purpose fertiliser.
- Deadhead spring flowers and any remaining winter bedding to stop them from self-seeding.
- Finish cutting back the dead foliage from perennials and ornamental grasses.
- Keep on top of any weeds that make an appearance. If you can stop them now, it will save you time as the season progresses.
- Mow your lawn once it starts to grow again. It is best to wait for a dry day and to set the blades higher than usual.
- Re-cut the edges.
Other Jobs in the Garden
- Spring clean your greenhouse.
- On warm days, ventilate your greenhouse and cold frames.
- Warm your compost up before using it for sowing by moving it into the greenhouse for a couple of weeks.
- Build or buy a new compost bin, ready to recycle the coming season’s garden waste.
- Check that the soil in your containers hasn’t dried out and top dress them by removing the top 2.5cm of soil and replacing it with fresh compost.
- Scrub or blast away slimy patches on patios and paving.
- Clean watering cans with hot soapy water.
- Put supports in now so that plants can grow through them.
- Do you know what type of soil you have? If not, it’s worth buying a soil-testing kit. When you know your soil type, it will help you choose the best plants for your garden.
Enjoy your garden in March!
WORDS Jaqui Fairfax