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The UK has enjoyed 3 days straight of some much-welcome sun, and there is a renewed sense of optimism as spring approaches. Now is a great time to head out into the garden and plan a colourful and lively space for the summer months ahead. We’ve collected a list of some of the essential March gardening jobs to help spark some inspiration and creativity.

FLOWER GARDEN JOBS

Grow sweet peas in the garden in March
(C) Gemma Evans
  • Now that the soil has warmed up enough to be workable, this is a great time to mulch your garden beds. One of the top March gardening jobs, mulching helps to introduce new nutrients into the soil and discourage weeds. Before getting started, make sure that your bed has been thoroughly weeded. Dig a layer organic matter at least 5 cm deep into the soil. Ensure that you leave a gap around the stem of any plants.
  • By the last week of March you should be able to plant out any young plants that you have hardened off. When planting, gently tease out some roots to encourage the plant to get established.  If the ground is already moist you don’t need to water it in, but do give it a drink of water before you remove it from the pot.
  • March is the month to plant any summer flowering bulbs you have bought. Double-check that bulbs have sufficient drainage when planting, if not they may rot. Alliums, Begonias and Gladioli are all excellent summer flowering bulbs that bring a splash of colour wherever they are placed.
  • Tending to your roses is best done in late winter before new growth has started appearing. Although pruning techniques vary between different types of roses, these are some basic guidelines. Always wear gloves to protect against thorns and keep your secateurs sharp. Make sure to leave 5mm above a bud and angle angle the cut away from the bud. For this type of pruning you are looking to cut out dead, diseased, and spindly stems.

VEGETABLE PATCH JOBS

Essential gardening jobs in March
(C) Eugenia Romanova
  • If you are raring to go and want to plant seeds out as soon as possible, then take this opportunity to start warming up the soil. Cover your beds with sheets of black plastic or cloches to give it a head start. This covering technique can also be used to encourage an early crop of strawberries or rhubarb.
  • Once the soil reaches 6°C you can start sowing your first lines of seeds outside. For these initial seeds it is best to start with broad beans or sweet peas. Help your your sweet peas by soaking them overnight before you plant them. It is possible to start growing some salad now, but plants tend to grow better when the ground has been warmed up.
  • Shallots and onion sets can be planted out in suitably warm soil. Plant them in a warm, sunny area. If you are buying any bulbs from the garden centre, avoid ones that are already shooting as these are likely to bolt during summer.
  • Now that the weather is warming up, slugs are starting to come out in force. Take this opportunity to prevent slugs from invading and eating up your young plants. There are a variety of slug deterrents and pellets widely available, but you can also use a more natural approach. Beer traps can draw slugs away from your seedlings, or you can remove them by hand and dispose of them at your discretion. Alternatively, slugs do not enjoy crawling over broken eggshells or copper, these materials can be placed as a barrier around plants.

GREENHOUSE JOBS

(C) Curro Mali
  • This is a good time to turn your attention to potted plants and give them a pot upgrade. Move plants into larger pots, and give them a generous amount of compost. As you are potting out the plants, tease out the roots out to encourage them to get established.
  • While repotting plants, take the time to check for vine weevils. At this time of year the larvae start to hatch and become active, so taking action now can prevent a more serious infestation later on. Examine the rootball of plants as you repot, looking out for small maggots that are a white-ish, creamy colour with an orange head.
  • Starts seeds for celery, celeriac, french beans and cauliflower ready to be planted out later on. You can also try growing plant plugs to get a large number of plants for relatively low cost. If you haven’t managed to get yours seeds going in time, plant plugs are a good alternative.

Source:  ww.rhs.org.uk

Did you enjoy this article on essential March gardening jobs? Why not read our article on caring for your Monstera, or Swiss Cheese, Plant or even our guide on choosing a parasol or gazebo!

Are you gardening this month? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

1. Hammer

The hammer is easily the most important of the tools that every homeowner should own. It unlocks the most basic of all tasks that you can do at home: hanging pictures on the wall. In order to do that correctly, you need to make sure that your nails are driven into the drywall or wood in a secure manner, and there’s no better tool for that than a hammer.

2. Screwdriver Set

If you’re going to attempt any kind of repair task, you’re probably going to need a screwdriver. Whether it’s replacing the batteries in a child’s toy or putting together store-bought furniture, a screwdriver is probably going to come in handy. Getting a set of eight to ten screwdrivers in a mix of the Philips and flathead variety will give you the screwdrivers you need for most common tasks.

3. Wrench Set

While most household items are held together with screws, most car parts use nuts and bolts instead. If you want to save money and do some simple car repair tasks at home, then you’ll need a good set of wrenches. Replacing your own battery or headlights can save you a lot of money versus getting it installed at a shop, and both tasks can be done in a half-hour or less if you have the right tools.

4. Socket Set and Ratchet

Sockets and ratchets are useful for when you need to tighten or loosen a nut or bolt but don’t have enough space to use a wrench. The good news is that there are a ton of great socket sets out there, and most aren’t terribly expensive. Just make sure you get the set that’s right for your country, as both Metric and Customary sets exist.

5.Tape Measure

Tape measures are an even more valuable tool given how much shopping is done online today. It can be hard to tell if a piece of furniture or other purchase will fit in your house by looking at pictures online, but a tape measure can let you know what you have space for. It’s also a necessary tool for any job where you’ll be building something yourself, as you can’t guesstimate cuts with good results.

6.Toolbox

Once you have all these tools, you’ll need a way to carry them around. You may not need a massive toolbox like the one your grandfather carried around, so you might check out the tons of lightweight but sturdy models on the market today. You can also invest in a toolbag, which is made from canvass and features pockets designed to protect and store different tools.

7. Duct Tape

Duct tape puts all other tapes to shame. It uses a woven backing which provides a lot of strength but remains easy to tear down to size, and the tape’s great grip makes it good for places where moisture or humidity would defeat other tapes. You may not know when you’ll need this product, but you’ll be happy you have it on hand when you do.

8. Utility Knife

Opening boxes with scissors is a cumbersome, and sometimes dangerous operation, and it can be hard to control the depth of the cut with blades that are that long. The utility knife features a short, but sharp blade which can make short work of a sealed package without threating its contents. It’s also useful for sharpening pencils and other cutting tasks, and since these tools tend to be cheap, it tends to be a very low-cost, high-value buy.

9.Handsaw

If you’re new to using tools or trying to build a collection, the handsaw is the first tool you should buy. It’s inexpensive relative to power saws, and it’s easy enough to use that it’s unlikely to be dangerous. You can perform just about any cut with a handsaw if you’re willing to put a little grit and elbow grease into the job. Keep in mind that saws with bigger teeth cut faster and those with smaller teeth are more precise.

10. Pliers

Like duct tape, pliers are one of those tools that don’t come in handy for long stretches of time, and then become invaluable for a few minutes. If you’re trying to tighten a nut, but the bolt keeps turning, a pair of pliers can make the job go far faster. If something small falls down in something else, then a pair of needle nose pliers will allow you to get it out. You can also use them to bend small objects back into shape.

11. Level

If you want to hang pictures that look great, you’re going to need a level. It’s very hard to hang pictures level on your first try with your unaided eye, but a level can make the job easy and prevent you from having to constantly get back up on your ladder to finish the job. Today, you can use an inexpensive bubble level, or invest in a high-tech laser level which allows you to level multiple objects at once.

12. Flashlight

Of course, every home needs a flashlight. It’s a tool that’s indispensable, but if you’re a new homeowner, you may be surprised at how many tasks that need doing take you into the darker nooks and crannies in your house. Whether you’re looking for a lost toy under a bed or working on the plumbing under your sink, you’ll be glad you have a flashlight.

 

This post was written by Adam Harris from HealthyHandyman.com. He loves to fish, play the guitar, and his all-time favorite thing to do is to work on his home improvement, DIY and woodworking projects that he publicly blogs about on his website. Feel free to reach out to him if you have any cool ideas for his content and work, but do know that he recently got himself a new 3D printer, so he may be a bit busy!

Nobody likes to discover that their plants are infested with aphids, or that fungi has bloomed. That’s why here at The Handy Mano, we’ve put together some tips to help you prevent plant pests and keep your plants strong, beautiful and healthy.

How to Prevent Plant Pests

1. Fertilise your plants!

Did you know that insects have a preference for weaker plants? That’s why our first piece of advice is to fertilise them regularly. A healthy plant is less attractive to plant pests which means that it’ll bloom better for us! You can use a generic fertiliser for flowering or leafy plants. There are specific fertilisers for veggie patches, orchids, cacti and even a specific one for bonsais. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, because excessive fertiliser can also do more harm than good!

Aphids and red spiders (pictured) prefer plants that are rich in nitrogen, meaning that any excess of this nutrient can turn your plants into something extra delicious for them, so make sure to always read the label and follow the instructions!

thehandymano mano plant pests how to prevent them leaf with red spiders

2. Check your plants regularly

Check both sides of the leaves, and keep an eye out for discolouration, small holes or webs. It’s easy to realise that you have a whitefly infestation even if you just brush past your plant, so make sure you keep checking up on them!

In doing this, over time you will be able to identify potential problems quicker and therefore be able to give your plant the correct treatment sooner. Many plant pests are cyclical, and repeat year after year, so don’t let them stress you out too much. Try to stay positive, because experience counts and if the pests come back next year, you’ll know exactly what to do.

3. Not all bugs are bad!

It can be an interesting exercise to identify the different insects swarming around our gardens, because they don’t all munch through our plants. Some prey on the plant pests that do eat them, and in such cases, these bugs are the ones we should be concerned about inviting to visit our gardens or plant beds.

That’s what plant biodiversity is all about. For example, a balcony which has only one type of plant growing there may awsell have a neon light to attract its preferred plant pests! Those of us with urban gardens know this all too well, hence we never forget to pair up certain plants with our food crops.
For example, Basil repels mosquitoes and white flies, and Nasturtium repels snails and ants (and it looks great, too!)

4. Apply preventative treatments

You can choose to treat your plants when they already have a problem, or you can apply specific products to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. If you have geraniums and know that they struggle every year because of the butterflies that lay their eggs on them… why not try to prevent it from happening by using an insecticide?

thehandymano mano plant pests how to prevent them plant bacteria

5. Strictly follow application guidelines

When the doctor prescribes us antibiotics, he always recommends finishing the course of medication even if we feel better, right? Well, it’s the same with plants. Many insecticides work on the adult insects that swarm around the plants but they don’t kill the eggs which can hatch within 15 days.
Repeat the treatment if the instructions recommend you to do so.

6. Beware of over-watering

Most fungi appear because of excess water. This can be caused by either watering too much, or, because of the British weather!
Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to try to prevent fungi growth by using a preventative fungicide. Although we can’t stop the rain, we can at least help our plants a little and get rid of the excess fungi.

7. Dry leaves don’t always mean disease!

If you’re a newbie to gardening, don’t get too worried if you discover some yellow leaves. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your plant isn’t receiving enough nutrients.
During any plant’s growth period, it’s perfectly normal for it to shed some leaves
In such cases, look at the leaf’s position on the plant. Is it one of the biggest and oldest? If yes, relax: it has simply come to the end of its life cycle.
However, it’s okay to worry when the leaf in question is a new leaf or one of the smaller ones, as that means that it was likely to have been born with a deformity or a strange colour. You can find out the likely root of the problem by searching for the plant online and trying to identify the specific symptoms to figure out the next steps to take.
In potted plants, you might notice the leaves lack that ‘luscious green’ look. This is a common issue, and as the leaves are telling us they lack certain nutrients, it’s just up to us to invest in more nutrients and feed them!

Which plant pests worry you the most and how do you keep them at bay? Let us know!

Hungry for more gardening articles? Try out these for more tips:

Types of Shrubs – Seasonal Guide

Lawn Mowing Tips and Tricks

Up for changing your garden but unsure about what shrubs to go for? Here’s our complete guide to different types of shrubs and when to plant them! So you can finally shrub up on your knowledge 😉

What is a shrub?

Types of shrubs mano mano the handy mano

Let’s get this clear before we move on to the various types of shrubs! A shrub is mostly any woody plant that has several stems and is usually less than 3 meters tall. Think of them as small trees!

How do you plant a shrub?

Before you get all excited about the different types of shrubs which you can have all year round, you need to make sure that you know how to plant one prior to buying one! Fortunately, we put some simple instructions together for you!

Step 1: Pick a location Make sure that the shrub won’t grow to block your driveway, entrance, or become an obstruction to anyone else!
Step 2: Prepare the ground Remove any trace of weeds, grass or flowers. If you don’t remove them now then they’ll soak up your shrub’s moisture and nutrients!
Step 3: Dig a hole The hole needs to be at least double the width and depth of the bottom part of your shrub; this leaves room for roots to grow freely in the compost surrounding them
Step 4: Fill hole with compost and put the plant in! Fill the bottom of the hole with at least an inch of compost, and place your plant in the center of it. Finish by filling the area around the plant with a mixture of compost and soil. And voila!

Find our range of claw weeders and rakes here, they even come with a soil-loosening tools buying guide!

Types of shrubs to plant in summer

Hydrangea Paniculata

Types of shrubs mano mano the handy mano Hydrangea paniculata

One of the easiest shrubs to grow, the beautiful Hydrangea provides fluffy clusters of while flowers that eventually fade into shades of pink and green. They tend to blossom in late summer and autumn, and are perfect for a large container or any landscape spot!

Oleander

types of shrubs oleander the handy mano mano

You may have seen these on the road, this is due to the fact that they are so easy to grow! Throughout summer, Orleander produces pink,red,purple, yellow, lilac and sometimes white flowers. Be careful though, it is very poisonous so keep your animals off them!

Spirea

types of shrubs spirea thehandymano mano mano

Another easy-to-grow shrub is Spirea! In midsummer it produces clusters of pink flowers, however, you can also get golden or lime green leaves if you buy the ‘Goldmound’ variety!

Rose of Sharon

types of shrubs the rose of sharon thehandymano mano mano

Not all roses need to be difficult! The rose of Sharon blooms during hot seasons and produces flowers in shades of pink, lavendar, blue and white. Our top tip is to look for more sterile varieties, such as Minerva, to avoid lots of weedy seedlings which can fill up your garden!

Types of shrubs to plant in winter

Firethorn

types of shrubs the handy mano mano mano firethorn

These beautifully bright orange berries look stunning in the winter! The leaves stay green throughout summer and then turn a darlker green-brown over winter. You can use it as a hedge or against a wall or trellis!

Witch Hazel

witch hazel types of shrubs the handy mano manomano

These delicate petals bloom and curl up at night, but, on a sunny winters day they emit a strong but lovely fragrance! The flowers range from yellow to red, depending on the variety you choose.

Paperbush/Edgeworthia

Paperbush, or Edgeworthia, is a multibranched shrub that drops its leaves in mid-December to reveal its bark and white and yellow clusters of flowerbuds. Also with a strong fragrance, the Paperbush emits a lovely aroma during winter days – what more could you want in a shrub?

Want some more gardening advice, petal? Why not try these articles?

Top 8 Weird Flowers

Top Nine Low Maintenance Flowers