March Gardening Tips 2022
Following February’s storms, Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, let’s hope for a gentler meteorological month. Of course, March can turn deliciously warm or scare us with a cold snap, stunting growth and damaging new shoots, just as it did in 2018 with the ‘Beast From The East’. But often we enjoy sufficient rain to keep the soil damp for planting and enough warmth to get things growing, perfect gardening conditions.
This year we are creating a new border at home, which is very exciting. We are going with a cream, pale yellow and blue theme, avoiding pink which is pretty ubiquitous in some of our other planting schemes. So far, we have planted two roses, Desdemona and Vanessa Bell and a couple of lupins, one cream, one white. On the list are some more perennials, a yellow honeysuckle, and white and cream climbing roses and a blue clematis – all yet to be chosen, so the anticipation is building. Of course, there will be a few gaps this year before our permanent plating fills out and we will fill those with bedding plants. We have started with some pretty pale primula and may move onto some hardy annuals which can be sown from seed in late March, either where they are to flower or in trays and pots to be transplanted later. Any further spaces we can fill later with tender bedding plants when the danger of frost is over.
Just like humans, plants that are growing fast and about to burst forth into leaf and bud benefit from feeding. A general fertiliser can be applied to borders and water well. Of course, the rain may do this for you and spare you a job. Then mulch well – (perhaps 6 to 10 cm) with garden compost, composted bark or bark chips to keep the moisture in and the weeds down. Shrubs, roses, trees, climbers and perennials will all benefit enormously. Overcrowded clumps of herbaceous plants (cottage garden plants) can be divided and replanted, increasing your plant stock at no cost whatsoever. And you can take cuttings of any fuchsias and pelargoniums you may have overwintered to give you new plants that will flower this year.
The first dead heading of the year may be in order when daffodils start to fade. Cut the blooms and compost them, but do leave the foliage to die down naturally so it can go on photosynthesising to feed the bulb for next year’s flowering. Talking of snipping things, you can prune established roses this month. Prune to an outward facing bud using a good pair of clean, sharp secateurs.
You can plant Onion sets and Shallots now and put Seed Potatoes in a cool, light position to chit (sprout) for planting later. Early varieties can be planted towards the end of the month. Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes and Spinach can be sown outside towards the end of March and then covered with cloches, or a little later in the season you can buy young plants to grow on. Many varieties of tomatoes and chillies can be sown now in the greenhouse, on a windowsill or in a conservatory.
As March progresses, it may be time to cut the lawn again. Set the mower blades high to avoid scalping. Rake (scarify) the lawn to get rid of debris, dead grass and moss. Aerate badly drained areas of the lawn with a hollow tined fork. This is also a great time to sow a new lawn, or repair worn patches. Do try to avoid walking on waterlogged lawns and working in sodden borders to avoid soil compaction. I can see some damage where we have created our new border – just through standing on the adjoining grass too much in damp conditions. It will have to be aerated and repaired.
The wider world seems such a troubled place, so I hope that your garden, small or large, or your patio or balcony, will be a place of calm and respite for you this March. We need the hope of spring this year as much as ever.