It’s March and we’re in reaching distance of spring!
We can get excited to finally see a bit of sunshine, spend more time outdoors and get stuck in the garden or allotment without getting numb fingers from the cold!
There is a lot to be done outside now that the winter months have passed. The signs of spring are in full force by mid-March and the warmer, longer days give us the opportunity to get out in the garden and get more jobs done.
This month we can busy ourselves with cutting back winter flowering shrubs as they’re blooms begin to fade getting ready for the next season of colour in the garden and pruning plants that have been dormant over winter, direct their energy to the healthiest parts of the plants ready for growing season.
You know what they say, preparation is key – get the mundane jobs of generally tidying up around the garden, scrubbing pots and weeding out of the way now, ready for when we want to spend more time outdoors.
And now’s the time for preparing seed beds by clearing them of weeds and debris and sowing hardy annual seeds like poppies and sweet peas outside directly outside where they’ll flower.
Here’s our top 8 gardening jobs for March:
1. Protect the new spring shoots from slugs
Slugs can be a right pain in the grass. If you want to opt for a chemical-free way of deterring slugs from your damaging young plants, try spreading crushed eggshells or coffee grounds (or a mixture of both) around the base of your plant. Gravel or woodchip will both do a similar job as its harder for the slugs or snails to drag their slimey bodies over the surface. Gross. You can also try protecting young plants or plants that are particularly vulnerable, like hostas, with a copper ring or copper tape around containers which gives the slugs a harmless, electric-like shock.
2. Plant shallots and onion sets
Shallot and onion sets can be quite low maintenance so ideal if you’re just starting out with growing your own veg. Shallots and onions will do best in moist but well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight.
When planting shallots, break up any clumps in the soil and plant with the tip of the shoot just above the soil and place each one about 15-20cm apart.
3. Towards the end of the month, you can plant summer-flowering bulbs like canna lilies and gladiolus
Canna lilies do best when started off in a pot. Plant with the shoot just above the surface and place somewhere warm, like a greenhouse or a windowsill until risk of frost has passed and they’re ready to be planted outside around May time. Gladioli are less fussy and can be planted straight into borders this month.
4. Top dress containers with fresh compost.
It’ll give your plants a boost by adding some extra nutrients. The best way to do this by removing around 2 inches of your old soil from the top of your container, being careful not to damage the roots
5. You can mow the lawn in later on this month if it’s dry and if it has reached about 3-4 inches.
6.Prune bush and climbing roses just before new growth begins
Remove leaves and cut any dead wood – branches that are brown all the way through rather than green and fleshy beneath the bark – back to the base and remove any spindly, thin growth.
7. Start sowing hardy annuals outdoors such as poppies, sweet peas and nasturtiums
8. Continue deadheading spring flowers and any remaining winter bedding to encourage healthy blooms to grow longer
7. Start hoeing veg beds as soon as the weather starts to warm up as weeds will germinate quickly
8. Keep putting out food for the birds – natural food sources like berries will be in short supply and they’ll need all the energy they can get as the breeding season gets underway.
As always, if you have any questions – feel free to get in touch!