What a difference a few days can make! Last week the whole of Great Britain was under a thick blanket of snow. The Beast From The East arrived with fury. Sub-zero temperatures, Several feet of snow fell within a few hours and plumbers seemed to be very busy fixing frozen boilers (ours included!) But, today the thermometer has reached 10°C and the snow has gone. Spring is in the air, and gardeners up and down the country can now get really excited for the growing season ahead! Here are my top gardening jobs for March.
Finish the last tidying and digging jobs
Rake up the last few leaves that may have blown onto your plot. Throw these onto the compost heap, or use them to make leaf mold- a great natural fertilizer! You will start to notice more and more weeds popping up now that the weather is starting to warm. Keep on top of weeding, so you’re not suddenly drowning in weeds within a few weeks. It will make gardening much easier in the months to come if you start weeding now.
If there are still areas that need digging over, this really does need to be completed ASAP!
Mow The Grass
You may have noticed your lawns are now starting to steadily grow. It’s time to dig the mower out of the shed! Make sure you give your mower a good check-over to make sure it is in a good condition (it’s worth having petrol mowers serviced if you have a large lawn to manage) ready for a busy season.
For the first few cuts keep the blades at their highest setting. This will keep your lawn healthy by preventing shock and damage from cutting it too short after a long rest. As Spring progresses you can drop the blade height for a nice short trim!
Transplant early sowings
If you started off Broad Beans, Peas, Brussell Spouts or Cabbages a few weeks ago and they have germinated with success, you can start to move them into their final location within the garden towards the end of this month.
If it’s still very cold where you are, hold off a little while longer. You don’t want to plant out too early for a hard frost to destroy all of your hard work. Last year I was far too eager and planted out lots of things too early. We had one night of hard frost and 90% of what I had sown, was destroyed. Heartbreaking.
Sow A Wild Flower Garden
I believe that every garden should have an area dedicated to wildflowers. Not only does a space like this look amazing, beautiful and welcoming but it also helps the bees. If you have happy bees in your garden, you will have a better success with your vegetable growing. Bee’s pollinate flowers, which in turn produces more crops.
Simply scatter a wildflower mix (you can buy these in most garden centers and even in places such as Poundland!) choose an area of your garden and simply scatter the seeds across the soil. Keep the area relatively small, a few square meters works best. Avoid weeding and mowing the area and simply let your flowers grow free. Simple gardening at it’s finest and great for our British ecosystem too.
Plant First Early Potatoes
Now is the time to start thinking about planting your First Early Potatoes. If you read my Gardening Jobs For February post, you may have spotted that I discussed a process called Potato Chitting. Well, now you can take your chitted spuds and plant them.
Choose a sunny spot away from frost pockets. If you’re planting into the ground, dig over the site well removing any large stones. Dig trenches and plant your seed potatoes at least 12 inches apart. As your spuds start to grow you will need to ‘earth up’ your plants. This simply means that as you spot green shoots emerging from the earth, you cover these shoots over with more soil.
Keeping shoots covered encourages more growth= more potatoes! It also protects delicate shoots from surprise frosts.
What To Plant
- Potatoes- First Earlies can go in now, but plant where there are no frost pockets
- Onion sets- these can either be planted where they are to grow or can be started in seed plugs and then transplanted in a few weeks
- Parsnips- Straight into the ground
- Carrots- in a sunny spot. Dig over the soil well to avoid funny shaped carrots
- Chilli Peppers and Sweet Peppers- Start these now on a sunny windowsill. This jobs needs to be done asap!
- Tomatoes- Get a move on as Toms need a long growing season. Plant in trays and keep warm. Sunny windowsills are ideal
- Swiss Chard- A propagator works best, or wait a few weeks and plant into the ground
- Broad Beans- March is peak time for sowing! Plant straight into the ground at a depth of 4-5cm.
- Radishes- Plant these straight into the ground while sowing Parsnips. Parsnips take a long time to grow, so putting Radishes into the same site means you get radishes while you wait for the parsnips!
- Sweet Peas- Sow directly into the ground, in a sheltered spot. Provide something for the plants to climb against. A perfect splash of colour for any garden and super easy to grow.
My favourite March plant- Daffodil (Narcissus)
Daffodils are my absolute favourite flower, of all the flowers in the universe. I adore them. I love the way they look, smell and how they welcome spring.
This hardy perennial looks best in March and April. Look closely and you shall spot them everywhere. Gardens, riverbanks, roadsides, fields… pretty much anywhere! Daffodils inject a real burst of colour as we welcome in spring.
Did you know that daffodils are used to treat Alzeihmer’s disease? The bulbs and flowers contain an alkaloid called galantamine which helps to treat patients with the memory impairments associated with the disease.
The Narcissus truly is a beautiful plant!
The clocks go forward on Sunday 25th March 2018!
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