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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.