Essential Garden Tasks for March
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Mulching is a great way of feeding the garden, conserving moisture and suppressing weeds. March is a great time as it falls between the earliest bulbs and before many plants really get going. Mulching simple means covering the ground. Some of the best mulching materials are compost, manure, bark chips and wood chips. This spring I am using some manure as I have areas of the garden that I want to feed well.
Simply cover the ground with a good depth of your chosen mulch; between 5cm and 10cm is best (2″ and 4″). It is better to cover some of the garden well than spread it out too thinly. I have never mulched my entire garden because of the cost. I select areas to do each year. Be careful not to cover the crowns of perennials or any other shoots that are appearing.
Enjoy the flowers
It is very likely that you have some flowers in your garden at this time of year. It depends where you are but you may well have daffodils, crocus, polyanthus and blossom. Take the time to enjoy them, they will not be here long!
There is no escaping the fact that as all your favourite plants spring into life so do all the weeds. Now is a great time to do a really good job of weeding. Get on top of them before they get a chance to become established. You especially do not want weeds managing to flower and set seed. Whatever your preferred technique now is the time to get started. If you weed and then mulch over the top you should have a largely weed free summer.
If, like me, you sow seeds each year to increase the variety of blooms in your garden or grow your own vegetables then now is the time to get started. Make sure that you read the packets carefully and sow them with the maximum chance of success. If in doubt, take a look at my post, Successful Seed Sowing. Also make sure that you use clean seed trays and propagators. You do not want to carry any disease through from last year but you do want to re-use everything as many times as possible to save money and the environment.
I am busy sowing asters, aquilega and salad leaves. The salad leaves are to grow indoors and give me an early harvest.
If you grew any sweet peas in the autumn you should now be hardening those off. See my other post, Sweet Peas Success Secrets, for more information.
If, like me, you adore snowdrops because they are so early in the year then you probably have a few clumps of them. If you want to make more clumps then you can divide the ones you have. This is best done whilst the snowdrops are in the green. That means once they have finished flowering but while there are still leaves on the bulbs. Simply dig up the clump and split it in half. Re-plant one half and then re-plant the other half where you would like a new clump. If you keep doing this then you will end up with snowdrops all around your garden.
If you want to buy snowdrops then they really are best purchased in the green. Snowdrop bulbs are notoriously unreliable if purchased bare.
I am, of course, referring to greenhouses and cold frames. Now is the time to start opening them up a little on warm days. This will help prevent diseases and mildew. It will also start to harden off any plants that you have in there but want to plant out in the summer. Obviously, you must be very careful and only open them up on mild days and remember to close them before evening. Often, if I am at home, I will open mine for a couple of hours in the middle of the day when the temperature is at its highest.
Buy summer bedding plug plants
If you like a lot of summer bedding plants then the best way to buy them is online and early. You can buy small plug plants that you grow on or you can buy garden ready plants that you simply harden off and plant out when they arrive. After a lot of careful colour coordinating last year I have decided to be bold this year. I have ordered a lucky dip of 270 plug plants from Suttons Seeds. It means that I get a lot more plants for my money but they could be anything. Fingers crossed for a great selection!
Whatever you want to purchase now is the time to do it if you haven’t already. When they arrive you can read my article all about what to do with your plants for success!
Feed the birds
If you have been feeding the birds all winter it is important to keep feeding them, ideally all summer. Many birds are in decline and need our help so consider putting some food out for them and perhaps a source of water. A variety of seeds, peanuts and suet pellets will attract a wide variety of birds to your garden.
Support for climbers
If you have any climbing plants in your garden now is the time to check their supports. If any maintenance is required now is the time to do it. It will minimise the damage you may do to the plants and give them the whole season to recover.
Check all your woodwork and if any needs treating you can make a start now. Obviously this is a job that can be done any time during spring, summer and autumn. If you get good weather, now is a great time to get started so that you can enjoy the results all summer. I try to treat my garden bench in the spring ready for a whole season of enjoying my drink sitting out there.
So, what do I mean by chit potatoes? If you want to grow your own potatoes then it is a great idea to chit them before you plant them. All it means is that you place your seed potatoes in an old egg box in a cool light place so that they develop shoots. Then they are ready to plant. If you have never grown your own potatoes then check out my article all about growing potatoes in containers.
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of tasks for March but hopefully it has inspired you to get outside and make a start on the garden tasks this March. Spring is such an exciting time out there. I would hate to miss it!
If you want any more guidance take a look at some of my other posts:
Secrets of successful sweet peas
Planting up pots and hanging baskets for summer
Remember to pin this article for later and let me know in the comments section below if you have any favourite garden tasks for March.