Signs of spring are all around, and it’s time to get outside and watch the garden waking up from winter! With plenty to sow, plant and prune, here are our top 15 gardening jobs for March.
- Plant first early potatoes this month. They do best if chitted first (this involves leaving the seed potatoes in a cool bright place for 4-6 weeks to sprout) but don’t worry if you haven’t chitted your potatoes – just go ahead and plant them.
- Plant onion sets and cover them with netting, as pigeons love to pull up the young seedlings. Once the plants are established, birds are less of a problem and the netting can be removed.
- Tomatoes and chilli peppers are easy to grow from seed. Sow the seeds indoors this month in pots on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse so that they can enjoy a long growing season.
- Plant gladioli, lilies and dahlias in pots indoors so they’ll be ready to plant out in late spring once the frosts are over.
- Deadhead faded daffodils, leave the foliage to die back naturally. Don’t try to tidy the leaves by plaiting or tying them together, as they need to make food to store in the bulb for next year’s flowers.
- Once snowdrops have finished flowering, dig up big clumps, split them and replant the smaller clumps. This will encourage them to spread, giving you an even better display next spring.
- There’s still time to prune bush roses in March. Remove any dead, damaged or crossing branches, and any spindly growth, then shorten all remaining stems by a third, cutting just above an outward-facing bud. Cut at an angle sloping away from the bud, so that rainwater runs off the cut surface.
- Prune mophead hydrangeas, cutting all flowered stems back to just above the first strong buds below the dried flowerheads.
- Cut back shrubby dogwoods to 15cm (6in) above ground level. This promotes the growth of new brightly coloured stems which will add brilliant colour to your garden next winter.
- Mulch fruit trees with compost or well-rotted farmyard manure, keeping the mulch clear of the trunks to prevent rotting.
- Move deciduous shrubs and trees this month before they start to put on new leaves.
- Clean patios and decking to get rid of any moss or algae stains, ready for warmer weather.
- Give roses a spring feed with a rose fertiliser. Ericaceous plants like blueberries, camellias and rhododendrons will all appreciate an application of ericaceous fertiliser too.
- Weed vegetable beds and mulch with well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost to get them ready for this year’s sowing and planting.
- Top dress shrubs in pots by removing the top 5cm (2in) of old compost and replacing it with fresh compost.
We have a fantastic range of plants, seeds and garden tools to help you get your garden ready for spring, so come in and see us!