Gardening In March
A busy month in the garden as spring approaches. Fortunately, days are lengthening and the clocks will be changing soon to give us more daylight to tidy up.
Vegetables and fruit.
Get the ground ready for sowing later this month. Sow parsnips
and early carrots on soil that has not been manured. Peas, broad beans, spinach and
summer cabbage are sown on soil that has been manured. Towards the end of the
month plant out the early seed potatoes that have been chitted. Varieties such as Arran
Pilot, Foremost, Pentland Javelin and Duke of York will produce nice new potatoes in
the late spring. Plant onion sets, shallots and Jerusalem artichokes and start sowing
successions of salads, such as spring onions, lettuce and radish. Rhubarb and
strawberry plants should go in this month. Cover over with fleece or polythene when
hard frosts are forecast. This is the last month for planting raspberry canes and a good
time to plant soft fruit, such as blackcurrants and gooseberries. Blossom on fruit trees
should be protected from frosts as the young fruit forms.
Sow now tender bedding plants such as busy-lizzies, marigolds,
lobelia, alyssum and petunias and pot up plug plants. Begonia and gloxinia corms will
need to be potted. Cuttings can be made from shoots on dahlia tubers and pelargonium
and geranium stock plants. Sow tomatoes, cucumbers, French beans, peppers and
aubergines. Do watch for greenhouse pests as it warms up and start to ventilate too.
Now is the time to spike and aerate and once it warms up to add a fertilizer
and mosskiller. Start to mow as soon as the grass starts to grow but set the mower on
a high cut for the time being. March is a good time to start to turf or seed new areas
of lawn but well prepare the soil and get it well firmed before doing so.
Flowers and shrubs.
Cut back, lift and divide perennials and plant new young plants.
Prune bush roses and any climbing roses that were not pruned in the autumn.
Buddleias should be pruned now and so too should the dogwoods (cornus) which are
grown for their coloured twigs. Plant gladioli and lily bulbs, Canterbury bells, sweet
williams, pansies and forget-me-nots can be planted and seeds of clarkia, eschscholzia,
godetia, larkspur, nasturtium and nigella can be sown direct outside in the garden.
Dead head the daffodils as soon as they have flowered. If shrubs growing in the garden
are to be dug up and moved, this must be done this month or delayed until the autumn.
Chipperfield’s Spring Flower Show is on 19 March. Maria Coote will
be giving a talk on rose growing in the Small Hall on 28 March. The RHS Orchid
Show is in Westminster on 19-20 March, phone 0207 6491885 or
www.rhs.org.uk/flowershows. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is on 24-28 May, phone 0844 338 7526 or www.rhs.org.uk/chelsea.