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March In Your Garden

1st of March 2014

Gardens are soggy and covered with moss after one of the wettest winters on record. Once things have dried up we can start to do the jobs that must be done and those that should be done.

Vegetables and fruit
Now is the time to sow cabbage, carrots, parsnips, peas, spinach and turnips, plus broad beans if not already sown in the autumn. Salads such as lettuce, radish and spring onions can be sown. Plant onion sets, shallots and Jerusalem artichokes. Add Growmore fertilizer when sowing or planting. Early seed potatoes can go in later in the month. Raspberry canes must be planted before the end of March while they are still dormant; they are usually planted in rows and are supported on wires with 10 plants spaced out over 10 feet (3 metres). Prune autumn fruiting raspberries and blueberries.

Flowers and shrubs
Bare root hedging plants such as privet and beech must be planted this month while they are still dormant. Established shrubs can be dug up and replanted up to the end of the month, too. Prune roses, dogwood, buddleia and late flowering clematis, plus early flowering shrubs after they have flowered. Now is a good time to start planting seeds and shrubs, conifers, climbers, alpines and herbaceous perennials. Established perennials can be lifted and divided now. Use bonemeal fertilizer when planting shrubs and Toprose fertilizer thereafter. Rhododendrons, azaleas and heathers do not like bonemeal so are fed with ericeous feeds at all times. Deadhead daffodils after flowering and apply a fertilizer and start to plant gladioli corms and lilies and summer flowering bulbs. Sow in the garden nasturtium, eschscholzia, clarkia, godetia, nigella and larkspur.

The greenhouse
Pot up the plug plants and seedlings and take cuttings of dahlias, geraniums and pelargoniums. Pot begonia corms and floxinias. Sow vegetables such as aubergines, cucumbers, melons, peppers and tomatoes and bedding plants such as alyssum, busy lizzie, lobelia, marigolds and petunias. Watch out for pests and diseases.

Lawn and garden
Keep off the lawn if wet and then start mowing with the cut set high. Spike and aerate and apply lawn sand or mosskiller. Then once the moss has died it can be raked out and, should there be large patches, it may be necessary to apply fine topsoil and reseed. New turf can be laid. The pond will need to be cleaned out and the garden tidied up. Keep adding plant material to the compost heap.

Garden events
The Chipperfield Spring Flower Show is on 22 March. Sarratt have their show on 5 April and the Bovingdon show is on 12 April. The R.H.S. Great London Plant Fair at Westminster is on 1 and 2 April and Chelsea Flower Show is from 20 to 24 May; tickets from or phone 0844 338 7539.

This page is edited by Tony

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