With spring on the doorstep and the days getting longer and brighter, it’s time to get back out in the garden and have a bit of a tidy up in preparation for the warmer weather. Here are our gardening tips for March.
Top gardening jobs in March
1. Get planting: This is the time to start planting those summer-flowering bulbs, onions and early potatoes.
2. Take control of the weeds: If you get these under control early on in the year, it’ll make your life a lot easier in the months to come.
3. Get the lawn mower out if it’s dry.
4. Sort out your slug defences. In particular, you’ll want to protect any new shoots.
5. Divide perennials and cut back winter shrubs that have become overgrown in the winter months.
“Early spring is the ideal time to plan the year ahead in the garden. Get some seed catalogues and plan your late spring sowings of flowering annuals to give you lots of colour through summer and autumn. Remember to mulch borders with well-rotted compost or manure after weeding to prevent weed growth and reduce maintenance in the coming months.
Garden birds are already busy building nests, so don’t cut hedges until September and put food and water out to encourage them into the garden.
Most importantly, enjoy your spring garden as everything starts to bud and grow.”
If the weather is mild, you can start sowing hardy annuals outside. Just in case of another cold patch, you might want to sow in pots for now.
- This is also a great time to start planting herbaceous perennials and summer flowering bulbs.
- Start cutting back any perennials to make way for new growth.
- Divide any herbaceous perennials that have become too large for their space. If any are flowering poorly, they may benefit from being divided too.
- Deadhead any winter-flowering plants throughout the month. Some of these will continue to flower throughout spring if you keep this up. Deadhead daffodils when necessary but let the foliage die back naturally.
- Get rid of any weeds in flower beds and dig in some compost before doing any planting. You could work in some fertiliser at the same time.
In the vegetable garden
- Weed your vegetable beds
- Dig some compost or some well-rotted manure into your beds to prepare the soil for planting
- If it’s colder weather, you might want to cover the prepared soil to keep it drier and warmer. Sheets of black plastic are good for this.
Trees, hedges and shrubs
- This is the best time to start planting roses in areas which are cold or have heavy soils. Remember to avoid planting where roses have grown previously to avoid replant disease. Keep feeding them as they start to grow.
- Prune roses and summer-flowering clematis to encourage new growth.
- As the month gets warmer, you can start thinking about planting evergreen trees and shrubs (if it’s a colder March, it’s better to wait until April to do this).
- Use a fork to lightly rake a slow-release fertiliser into the soil around your trees, hedges and shrubs.
- Put rabbit guards in if planting any trees to protect the bark.
- Prune any deciduous shrubs that flower in summer or late summer now but wait to prune any spring-flowering shrubs until after they have flowered.
- Put any supports necessary in place early – it will be more difficult to do once the plants or trees have started to grow. Check tree ties and stakes. You may need to keep an eye on any newly planted trees or shrubs if it’s windy and reposition them occasionally.
- Get the lawnmower out the grass is looking healthy but remember to raise the blades around half a centimetre higher than usual for the first cut of the season.
- If the ground isn’t frozen, you can lay turf, using planks to prevent the soil from becoming compacted. Try not to walk on it for a couple of weeks so new roots can establish.
- Set the lawn mower to the highest blade position to mow any newly-turfed areas.
- Recut any uneven lawn edges
- You’ll probably want to wait until April until sowing any areas but now is a good time to cultivate the soil. This will allow it to settle before sowing.
- Apply lawn fertiliser to help your lawn recover after the winter months.
In the greenhouse
- If you haven’t sowed any seeds yet this year, you could try planting some plug plants. These will provide you with a large number of plants later on in the year.
- Make sure you check your plants and seedlings every few days. Water them regularly and re-pot them as they grow and require more space.
- On particularly warm days, ventilate your greenhouse by opening doors and windows.
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