Your Gardening Tasks for March

Gardening Tasks for March

March is an exciting time for gardeners like myself as it marks the beginning of the growing season! It’s a time of year of much anticipation; the bulbs are starting to emerge in the ground and even a hint of blossom is starting to appear and it’s easy to want to get carried away – but it’s also a time to practise a little self control (yep, I’m lecturing myself here!!) as there are many seeds that it’s still a tad too early for, and the ground is too cold to think about planting much outside. Here are some gardening jobs you can tick off this month.

 

1 – Plant summer-flowering bulbs

Ranunculus, dahlias and lilies can all be planted in March for a beautiful & colourful display in the summer. You can plant them in any well-drained, sunny spot, whether that means in pots, or even dotted amongst the perennials in your herbaceous boarder. This weekend I plan on planting up my dahlias (which I ordered last year from a company called Dahlia Beach Club) in individual pots, and storing them under the shelves in my greenhouse, until the last frost has passed next month, and they can go outside!

These white ranunculus and these melody harmony dahlias would make stunning additions to my cut-flower garden!

 

2 – Prune rose bushes & climbing roses

If you haven’t already, it’s time to prune your roses! This is a task that should be done in late winter or early spring, around the time that new buds begin to form. To prune your roses well, you’ll need some sharp secateurs as it’s important to make clean cuts; and I’d recommend using gauntlet gardening gloves to protect your hands and forearms from thorns. I’d also recommend wearing something like a wax jacket, because oh boy those little thorns are terrible at pulling on your knitwear!

Start with removing any remaining leaves to reduce the chance of disease, then cut back dead wood. Next, you can shape your plant by cutting back any criss-crossed branches, and removing some stems from the centre of the bush if the centre is too dense.

Finally, cut 1/4 inch above each bud to encourage outward growth. Be sure to keep up with the feeding of your roses using manure-rich rose food as they’re particularly hungry plants!

 

3 – Lift & divide overgrown clumps of perennials

If your perennials, such as anemone, iris, salvia and ornamental grasses have been growing vigorously and are starting to overcrowd their space, you can gently lift them from the ground and separate them out into two or more plants. We are also going to be combing our grasses to gently remove any dried and dead leaves which could take up space and make it harder for fresh leaves to grow.

Dividing perennials every two to three years encourages them to grow vigorously and keeps them healthy. Another massive bonus of dividing your plants in this way is that you end up with new free plants! You can then find another spot in your boarder for these extra plants to go; create a new herb or flower bed in a wooden trough planter; or you could gift them to friends and family in a galvanised planter.

 

 

4 – Sow wildflower seed to grow your own meadow

A great way to encourage biodiversity in your garden and attract lots of bees and butterflies is by creating a wildflower meadow! This is an affordable way to add some colour to your garden, as all you’ll need to buy is some wildflower seed.

Your meadow can be any size from a small patch of your front garden, to your entire lawn, depending on what you’re trying to achieve in your garden.

Wildflowers don’t need nutrient rich soil, however they do usually need full sun. If you don’t have a sunny spot available for your wildflower meadow, you can actually buy wildflower seed mixes which are specifically for shady spots. March is the perfect month to plant your wildflower seed, so get sowing! I even like to sprinkle wildflower seed down our lane in the verges; it will look SO beautiful in Summer.

 

5 –  Get busy sowing vegetable and flower seeds!

This is where I spend the majority of my time during March; in the greenhouse sowing vegetable and flower seeds in big seed trays (I get most of mine from Amazon and use RocketGro compost) – this last week I’ve done Spring Onions, Rainbow Chard, Beetroot and a few others. I’ve also started off some Cosmos for some hopefully early flowering blooms. My favourite places for seed purchasing includes Vital Seeds, the Heritage Organic Seed Company, Chiltern Seeds and of course any garden centres I happen to pop in to!

Some of the seeds that I sowed last month are already ready for potting on too, so another task for me over the next few weeks is to ‘pot on’ some of the larger seedlings, which for me includes asian greens, pak choi and also my tomatoes which have all germinated wonderfully!

 

 

6 – Protect new spring shoots from pests

If you’ve planted anything out already, then there are many pests which can destroy your young, tasty plants, such as birds, butterflies, and slugs. These pesky little creatures love to nibble on all of the precious young plants in my kitchen garden.

In terms of controlling slug populations, I don’t like to add slug repellent, as the chemicals may end up in the vegetables that I harvest, and can be harmful to dogs. A better option could be the use of Nematodes. Nematodes are tiny insects which kill slugs without harming humans or any other animals.

To keep birds and butterflies at bay, net cages can be placed over your plants, which is a great way to keep these pests at bay without harming any of the wildlife that lives in your garden.

7 – Give your lawn some TLC!

If you lawn is looking a little tired or sparse, there are several steps you can take to have it looking green and luscious again by the summer. If you like to have a uniform lawn without other plants mixed in, I’d recommend starting with weeding your lawn thoroughly.

The next step is to fill in any gaps by overseeing your lawn. You can purchase lawn seed online, which you can sprinkle across your whole lawn in early spring. Be sure to water your lawn regularly (preferably using collected rain water!) while the new parts of your lawn become established. Another way to boost the health of your lawn is to apply lawn feed. Look for a feed with a high nitrogen content, and preferably apply it in late March.

 

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