GARDENING JOBS FOR MARCH
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Although the beginning of March can still feel a lot like winter, warmer weather is almost certainly around the corner. Try to make the most of this time because in a couple of weeks you will be up to your ears in seed potatoes, onions and a house full of germinating seeds.
Below is a list of some of the main gardening jobs you can expect to be doing in March but you may well find that you've plenty more to do.
Sow Greenhouse Crops: Now is the time to start sowing your tender crops so that they are ready for planting in unheated greenhouses once the threat of frosts are over. Non-hardy vegetable crops, such as peppers, cucumbers, aubergines and greenhouse tomato can either be started off indoors but may require extra heat to encourage speedy germination. Consider using an electric propagator or if you are lucky enough to have one - a heated greenhouse or heated sand beds with soil warming cables. Click here to find out How to Grow Lettuce From Seed and How to Grow Outdoor Tomato Plants from Seed
Shallots and Onions: Sow your main crop onion seeds as soon as your soil is warm enough to allow you to create raised drills. If you have a heavy soil, add horticultural grit to improve drainage. Sow the onion seeds very thinly into the raised drills approximately 1/2" deep with rows about 9" apart, then carefully cover the onion seed with soil and gently water in. Germination should take approximately 21 days. Sowing can take place anytime between late February and early April and you should start getting crops from August to September. If you are choosing to plant onion sets instead of seed, these can be planted out into a firm seedbed when soil conditions have warmed up in late March. This will be the same for shallots spaced out at of 6 inch intervals in rows 12in apart.
Seed potatoes: Start chitting seed potatoes from early March so that they are ready in time for planting out come mid-April when the threat of late frosts are almost over. Set seed potatoes out in trays and stand in a cool, bright position for the shoots to form. Early varieties can be planted in March, but main-crop potatoes will need to wait until April. Click here to find out Why and How to Chit Potatoes
Strawberries: Potted runners will be available for planting now but you will need to get then in early to provide a decent crop later on in the year. Choose your varieties wisely and you will be able to spread the cropping season from June until late summer. Click here to find out How to Grow Strawberries
Fruiting trees and bushes: Most gardeners will know about protecting your fruit from opportunistic birds like pigeons and finches, but you will also need to protect the blossoms of early-flowering apricots, peaches and nectarines from damage caused by frost. If you loose the flowers then you will almost definitely lose fruit initiation so covering the trees with horticultural fleece will help to ensure you’ll have a crop worth protecting.
Vegetables: Start preparing seedbeds early as there will be plenty of work later on when it come to sowing vegetable crops. In mild areas with light soil you can start off with broad beans, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, lettuce, radish, peas, spinach, salad leaves, leeks - the list goes on. Check seed packets for guidance and only sow only if conditions are suitable.
Dahlias: Plant dahlia tubers in trays of compost to encourage shoots to grow, but remember to keep them in a frost free position and not to water them until the new growth starts to show. Any shoots that do appear can be used as cuttings but don’t leave it too long because as soon as the stems become hollow they are no longer viable as propagation material. Click here to find out How to Plant and Grow Dahlias
Roses: March is the traditional time for pruning roses in readiness of a stunning display for the early summer. In fact there is an old saying for pruning roses which states that you should prune your roses …
‘…on the third week of the third month, to the third outwards facing bud…’
In addition to this remove any dead, diseased or damaged stems that you can see as well as any stems rubbing against each other or are growing back towards the centre of the plant.
Snowdrops: Unlike most bulbs that prefer to be lifted for division at the end of summer snowdrops don’t as they tend to dry out quickly and lose their viability. It's best to lift and divide any congested snowdrops after flowering but while still in leaf – this is known as being in the green. Carefully tease the clumps apart and replant the bulbs at the same depth they were before. Click here to find out How to Plant and Grow Snowdrops
Winter Heathers: To encourage compact growth and strong flowering for the following season, lightly cut back winter-flowering heathers immediately after flowering. Take not to cut back into the old wood as there will be only a few dormant buds to grow back. Get it wrong andyou will be left with bare, straggly plants until the following year, sometimes longer.
For more information click onto:
Gardening Jobs for January
Gardening Jobs for February
Gardening Jobs for April
Gardening Jobs for May
Gardening Jobs For October
Gardening Jobs For November
Gardening Jobs For December
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Which Vegetable Seeds can be Sown and Grown in March
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