March is the month of real hope for gardeners as we start to see some sunshine (in amongst the rain and possibly even snow)! If you enjoy growing from seed then this is the month to really get sowing.
Outside in the veg garden your over winter harvest can be both finishing and just starting, for example, if you planted in the late summer and autumn you could be now be eating spring onions, Swiss chard, winter lettuces, spring cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli in addition to any leeks, parsnips, sprouts and kale that you might still have left.
In the main garden early irises and snowdrops will be in full bloom, tulips will be pushing through, crocus and daffodils are starting to flower. Primulas will be looking good and shops will be stacked full of gardening equipment and plants.
It’s a great month for sorting and planting as well as sowing. If you’re sowing in a greenhouse some protection against frosts will be required. In the UK we’ve been known to have frosts until June, so although spring is in the air it can be cold.
It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast so you don’t plant out or prune just before a cold spell.
Here’s a list of things I’ll be doing and some ideas for things you can do:
- My potatoes are chitting and I’ll plant out at Easter. Early varieties can be planted in now.
- My windowsills are covered in seed trays and I’m sowing indoors. I’ve sown everything from beetroot to tomatoes. If you haven’t yet sown your chilies or peppers do so now because they can take ages to germinate.
- I’ll be planting my onion sets either next weekend or the one after. Some of my fellow allotmenteers have them in already and they’ve covered them with green mesh. If you haven’t done so already, you can still plant shallots this month.
- I’ve just bought a lovely new rhubarb plant and I dug it in this weekend. They love fertile soil so if you have any manure, ‘chicken-poo’ pellets or similar, then plant that in with it and water well. Don’t eat the rhubarb for a couple of years. It will be tempting to eat it next year and especially the year after but it will weaken the plant.
- Plant raspberry canes and cut any dead canes right down to the ground.
- Plant strawberries
- Protect new shoots from slugs – I’m trying spent coffee beans from my local café. Fingers crossed it works!
- Planning my summer borders. I’m stocking up on summer bulbs to plant out on nice days.
- Looking after perennials by tidying round them, dividing and ensuring they’re in the right place. A bit of a nudge/move at this time of year will be fine.
- The lawn is growing so if it’s dry it can be mown.
- The weeds are also growing and I’ve started hoeing them down before they grow too big.
- On fresh days I open the greenhouse to air it so it stays mould free.
- If you’ve got winter shrubs such as dogwood (Cornus) and willow (Salix) cut them back this month and you’ll soon see new shoots coming through.
- Cut old leaves off hellebores. This helps keep them disease free. I would encourage this because this is probably how I lost mine this year. I just didn’t look after them well enough at all.
- Keep deadheading pansies and they will last through summer.
- You can deadhead any daffodills that have finished flowering but don’t cut the foliage down, I tie mine in a loop to keep them tidy.
- Warm up your soil and keep yourself warm too. It’s really easy to get cold outside at this time of year so wrap up and enjoy :)
The Garden Smallholder and Not Just Green Fingers have done some excellent to-do guides this month and if you’re thinking about ideas for your summer borders then Garden in a City has posted some inspiration.
What will you be doing this month? Have you got any top tips for gardening in spring?