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Gardening Jobs Ė March

Is spring is on its way? Days are longer and March is a month where you feel your spirits lifting and you are galvanised into action. Daffodils and crocuses start to appear, and seeds that have been lying in wait start to sprout. Growth seems slow at first and then suddenly everything takes off. Make sure you are prepared and have pruned all you need to. This is the beginning of the mad spring rush but, the weather can still turn nasty and ground frosts still abound, so keep an eye on the forecasts and plan accordingly. In our climate, best to wait for the soil to warm up to at least 12 degrees celcius before sowing or planting, and this may be toward the end of the month.

The Vegetable Patch in March

Start sowing
Sow beetroot, broad beans, peas, leeks, radish, lettuce, parsnip, onions, carrots, turnips and herbs. Some of these can be planted directly outside. Otherwise start them off in pots and trays undercover.

Plant early potatoes
Early potatoes can be planted in mid-March as long as the ground is not too waterlogged. They can be planted whether or not they have been chitted beforehand.

Sow greenhouse crops
If you havenít started yet, then sow tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum, aubergine and melons. If the weather is warm then start them off in the greenhouse, otherwise put them in a heated propagator or start off inside.
Plant Jerusalem artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke tubers can be planted. They are an excellent winter veg.

Plant asparagus crowns
This is the last chance to plant asparagus crowns before spring. Plant them now for a long-term crop.

Dig over and rake your vegetable patch
Turn the soil over to remove any old crops and weeds. Rake the soil so that it is ready for planting.

Remove any weeds
Keep an eye out for weeds. They will start growing as soon as temperatures start rising. Hoe the young weeds as soon as they appear.

The Fruit Garden in March

Plant strawberry plants
Buying plants rather than runners will give you a better chance of strawberries this year.

Stop forcing rhubarb
Towards the end of the month, remove forcing pots from rhubarb. Donít leave the pots on too long or youíll exhaust the plants.

Buy blueberry bushes
Blueberries are very easy to grow and are a delicious snacking fruit. Grow varieties which ripen at different times to give you berries throughout the summer.

Mulch around fruit trees and bushes
Spread compost or manure around the base of fruit trees and bushes. This helps suppress weeds as well as retaining moisture.

Other Gardening Jobs in March

Donít stop feeding the birds
I know itís tempting to stop feeding the birds once you feel spring is on its way, but this is the time when food stocks for birds are very low and they will really appreciate a bit of help. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water too.

Enjoy the daffodils and crocuses
These are the first colour of the new year and a welcome sight after winter.

Make grand plans for your garden
Spring-time recharges your batteries, and many grand plans and schemes start to form. Choose a good one and put it into action.

Michael Gourlay Chairman

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