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March is with us and already the year is galloping on! The days begin to lengthen, the temperatures start to rise and the light intensity is increasing too!
It’s going to be a busy time for gardeners. Should the weather allow, we will be outside preparing the ground. If it’s raining, then there’s plenty to do inside with sowings for both flowers and vegetables.
Let’s have a look!
Assuming you’ve been following our tips, then your lawn should be in good condition as it emerges from winter:
Should your lawn lack colour and the leaf growth be a little weak, then if the weather is fine and warm, apply a high nitrogen fertilizer – but not too much! You want to get your lawn into steady growth with a good colour, but not too fast growing!
Continue to sweep clear worm castes that have accumulated on the lawn on a dry day.
In dry, frost-free weather you can be mowing if necessary, but keep those blades high!
You can be thinking of buying seed or ordering turves for a new lawn or repairing an established for next month.
March is a busy month for sowing tender annual seed (half hardy annual) for your summer displays, in a propagator in the greenhouse or on a window-sill indoors.
There’s still time to sow begonias early in the month and you can also sow petunias, impatiens, lobelia, zinnias and many more. Make sure though you can maintain the germination requirement printed on the packet!
No facilities for sowing inside in the warm? No worries, there are lots of flowers that can be sown direct outside late in March or April. More about that next month, but you can start preparing the soil in the chosen area if the weather allows.
Perennial plants i.e. those that live for a number of years can be planted in March and there is still time to lift and separate existing plants if they have become overcrowded before they burst into active growth.
Summer-flowering tubers like dahlias and corms like gladioli can be planted later in the month.
Maybe you planted autumn bulbs like narcissi last year. Hopefully you have a great display, remove faded flower stems, but leave the foliage to build the bulbs for flowering next spring.
March is a busy month in the greenhouse and garden!
Let’s start on sowings to be made on the window sill or greenhouse
Tomatoes are always popular, but there’s just so much to choose from, from old favourites like Moneymaker and ‘cherry’ sized Gardeners Delight, to the new ‘Blight’ resistant varieties such as Crimson Cocktail. Peppers need a long growing season, especially chillis!
Begin ‘chitting’ early potatoes in a tray (standing them on end in a light position to encourage shoot production ready for planting out.)
Thinking of growing celery in the garden? Time to start the seed indoors.
Outdoors, of course it’s weather dependant. It can help to lay black polythene down to absorb the sun’s rays and warm up the soil.
There is already talk of another water shortage this summer, so it if you have garden compost available or access to well-rotted farm yard manure, it’s a good idea to dig this in or mulch established plants.
Should you have raised beds, you will probably get an earlier start, since the soil will warm up quicker.
Weather allowing, you can make sowings of broad beans, early peas, beetroot, radish, carrots, lettuce, spring onions and parsnips.
There is still time to plant bare root ‘cane fruit’ like raspberries and blackcurrants and ‘soft fruit’ e.g. strawberries.
Now too, is the time to apply a ‘slow-release’ fertilizer such as blood, fish, and bone, to support growth through the summer and encourage fruiting. N.B. remember that blueberries prefer an acid soil, so use an ericaceous fertilizer.
Remember there’s still plenty of time for night frosts, so cover wall-planted nectarines and peaches with horticultural fleece.
Complete pruning of roses. Finish too pruning of winter flowering shrubs.
Apply slow-release fertilizer around the base of plants.
Complete those nagging maintenance jobs such as washing down the greenhouse/benches etc. inside and out.
Don’t forget to get the mower serviced – it’s going to be busy!