March Gardening Tips
What a glorious close to February! We have enjoyed unseasonal short sleeve weather and even the scent of the odd Barbeque wafting in the air. I have also noticed a lot of leaf buds appearing. Of course we could still be on the receiving end of some pretty cold weather so keeping some fleece to hand to protect more tender subjects, or those that have been a little enthusiastic in bud break, is not a bad idea. If our lawn is anything to go by, the first cut is not far off. Do make sure isn’t the deepest. Set the mower blades high. Rake (scarify) the lawn to get rid of debris, dead grass and moss and aerate badly drained areas of the lawn with a hollow tined fork.
Given the warmth we have already experienced, herbaceous plants (cottage garden plants) may already have started to grow. Fork a general-purpose plant food around them then apply a mulch such as garden compost, composted bark or bark chips to keep the moisture in and the weeds down. At this time of year I am totally tempted by summer flowering bulbs, corms and tubers, such as Gladioli, Dahlias, Begonias, Crocosmia and Lilies. Gladioli can be planted in the second half of the month.
If you want to grow your own delicious potatoes, far tastier than any you can buy in the shops, then it is time to put Seed Potatoes in a cool, light position to chit (sprout). Plant early varieties towards the end of the month. Growing veg from seed is also really rewarding. Sow hardy annuals outside towards the end of March. Sow half hardy annuals in the greenhouse, on a window sill, in a conservatory or buy young plants to grown on. Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes and Spinach can soon be sown outside and then covered with cloches. Plant Onion sets and Shallots. There is still time to plant bare root fruit trees into well prepared soil. Mulch trees and bushes to keep the soil moist and weed free. As Rhubarb pushes through cover with an up-turned bucket to exclude the light to encourage the plant to produce pink shoots. For an early crop, bring potted Strawberries into the greenhouse, water and feed
Spring is within touching distance and I cannot wait until the clocks bounce forward and we can enjoy longer, lighter evenings perfect for an a potter in the garden.