March Gardening Calendar

Spring begins in earnest by mid March. It’s time to plant summer-flowering bulbs, sow seeds in the greenhouse, cut back winter shrubs, divide overgrown perennials, and generally tidy up your garden.

Flowers and shrubs

  • Cut back winter-flowering plants, honeysuckle, old shoots of perennials and ornamental grasses
  • Prune roses hard with sharp secateurs down to 5mm above a bud - make sure the cut is clean and sloping away from the bud so water does not collect on it. If there is no bud visible, just cut back the rose to the appropriate height
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs, new shrubs and hardy perennials in flowerbeds
  • Lift and divide overgrown perennials - make sure the divisions have roots, shoots and adequate water to settle into their new positions
  • Plant lily bulbs in deep pots with lots of compost ready for colourful summer displays
  • Once house bulb displays have finished, plant them outside and give them a liquid feed
  • The milder weather brings weeds - make sure any weed killer used is suitable for flowerbeds and safe for pets if you have them

Fruit and vegetables

  • Prepare your vegetable patch - fork in lots of compost to add nutrients and weed thoroughly before planting out crops
  • Plant shallots and onion sets 10cms apart in rows, in a sunny, well-drained site and cover with nets to stop birds pulling them out
  • Grow early potatoes in a bag of compost or plant in mounded rows and protect from late frosts with cloches, fleece, or a light mulch of straw
  • Sow carrots, beetroot, broad beans, cabbages, cauliflower, coriander, leeks, lettuce and salad leaves, peas, radishes, rocket, salad onions, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips - sow outside or under cloches
  • Set out young garlic plants grown in trays from the greenhouse - set the plants at the same level as they were growing in the trays

In the greenhouse

  • Plant strawberry runners in hanging baskets for an early summer crop - this will ensure they’re kept well away from slugs. (Just remember to feed them every 10 days during the growing season with a high-potassium feed)
  • Sow cucumbers, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers to crop in summer
  • Sow celery, lettuces, parsley and other herbs in modular trays to move out to the garden later on
  • To avoid peas being eaten by mice, sow them in lengths of guttering under cover then plant outside when properly rooted
  • Sow summer bedding plants, such as petunias, geraniums, busy lizzies, marigolds and dahlias

Lawn and trees

  • Rake the grass to remove dead leaves and help flat areas of grass to stand up before mowing
  • It’s time for the first lawn mow of the year - pick a dry day and keep your lawnmower blades high
  • Clear out underneath hedges and add compost to bump up nutrients and promote new shoots

General maintenance

  • Apply weed killer to the paving and gravel areas of your garden - or try a weed wand if you prefer not to use chemicals. To stop weeds growing in small areas, you could lift the paving or gravel and put down a weed membrane to prevent further growth
  • Invest in a compost bin to turn your grass cuttings into natural nutrients for your garden. Make sure you layer grass cuttings with kitchen waste (no meat to avoid rats) and a little paper, such as torn up egg cartons, so it aerates properly and doesn’t turn to sludge

Plan ahead

  • Buy herbs to plant in containers in a sunny position near your house where it’s more sheltered
  • It’s time to order seedlings, summer-flowering bulbs and summer bedding plants
  • Dig compost into heavy clay soils to help with drainage and increase fertility

Little green fingers

  • Get the kids involved in planting vegetables and writing labels for each row - they’ll love seeing new shoots appear and harvesting the vegetables for dinner when they’re ready to eat.
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