Spring is on its way and the longer, brighter days provide the perfect opportunity to get out into the garden and get this month’s jobs sorted. From planting bedding plants, mowing the lawn and growing your own fruit and veg, March is a great time to get started.
Your grass will likely be starting to grow well this month, so the lawn will need regular mowing from now on. Remember not to take it too short with the first cut of the year and make sure the grass is dry in order to avoid tearing.
March is a great time to start feeding lawns, giving them a helping hand on their way to looking luscious, strong and healthy. It’s also a good time of year to invest in lawn edging. making it easier to keep your lawn looking neat and tidy. It’s great for dividing up your vegetable patch and adding a decorative touch to your flower beds, too.
What to plant now
From sowing seeds to planting bulbs, now is the time to start your grow-your-own adventure. Many vegetable seeds can be sown outdoors this month. If you haven’t already, make sure to prepare your seedbed by pulling up any weeds and forking in a good layer of compost before sowing seeds ready for the growing season ahead. Most seeds need a soil temperature of around 7C (45F) to germinate so if temperatures are still a bit chilly, delay planting until later in the month or simply pre-warm the soil with the help of fleece, polythene tunnel or cloches.
Some of the crops which are ready to sow in March include beetroot, broad beans and peas, carrot, cauliflower, leek, lettuce, onion, radish, salad leaves, spinach, summer cabbage, Swiss chard and turnip. Beans can be sown early in the month if you start them off in a potting tray and then transfer young plants to your vegetable garden when it warms up a bit more. Towards the end of the month, you can start planting your sprouting potatoes outside too. Potato grow bags are perfect if you don’t have a lot of space spare in the veg garden – and potatoes do definitely take up a lot of growing space, so you might find this handy anyway to save a bit of space so you try your hand at growing even more veg varieties.
Tomatoes, sweet and chilli peppers, cucumbers and aubergines can all be sown indoors now as they need more warmth – either in a warm room in the house or in a heated propagator. Check the germination temperature needed as shown on the seed packets.
Now’s a good time to move evergreen shrubs. Wherever possible, prune back up to half of the top growth first – to reduce the stress on the roots and so ensure re-establishment is more successful (just be aware this might not be possible with conifers without ruining the shape). Water the soil around the plant thoroughly the day before moving, dig up as big a root ball as you can manage to lift and replant in well-prepared soil to help improve root growth and re-establishment. Firm the soil around the root ball, water in well and keep well watered during dry periods for the first year. Tall plants may need staking to help keep the roots secure while they’re establishing. Should it still be chilly or windy, simply protect the leaves with some fleece.
Early March is also a great time to prune late summer and autumn-flowering clematis; leave pruning spring-flowering clematis until after they’ve finished flowering.
Make the most of the good weather
Water butts are a good investment for the warmer weather ahead. Attach them to a downpipe to collect any rainfall and it will save you on water bills during warmer months, as well as giving plants a natural water source they thrive on.
While you’re waiting for the temperatures to pick up why not make the most of the bright and charmingly chilly days by giving the BBQ a test run. There’s something amazing about cooking and eating outdoors even if you do still need a jacket! Make it extra cosy with outdoor lights and a chimenea or fire pit – perfect for the cooler evenings.
Look after wildlife
Alongside looking after birds by making sure to keep feeders topped up (essential for keeping growing families fed), now is a great time to do your bit at looking after wildlife in general, including the hedgehog population. For instance, did you know that hedgehogs travel up to two miles every night in the search of food? Give them a helping hand by agreeing with your neighbours to keep a small space/hole in your fence to make their journey a little shorter – it doesn’t have to be big! And if you have the space, how about creating a secluded hedgehog-friendly corner? Pop in a hedgehog house and every now and then put down some hedgehog food for them and you’ll be sure to have some new best friends!
Other easy things you can do this month to help support wildlife in your area are: cleaning bird baths and feeders (read our blog for some handy tips), put up nesting boxes for birds, build a bug hotel, and sowing bee-friendly plant seeds – just look for the RHS – Perfect for Pollinators logo.
Fruit and veg
Dig in compost or green waste into your veg patch
Sow shallot seeds and plant onion sets
Plant broad beans under cloches
Continue chitting and planting early potatoes
Divide autumn-flowering herbs
Sow tomatoes and courgette seeds inside
Remove rhubarb flowers
Plant fruit shrubs
Protect crops from slugs
Plant summer-flowering bulbs
Sow sweet peas outdoors
Plant bare-rooted shrubs
Prune summer-flowering shrubs
Re-plant plug plants
Lift and divide perennials
If the weather is mild enough, trim and feed the lawn
Lay new turf
Re-pot plants and add liquid feed
Plant indoor salad and herbs
Pick up all your gardening essentials for this month at wilko.com