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What can I do in the garden in March?

March is a great month in which to get to grips with the garden

If you have a growing schedule, there will be a lot of green dots for March. This really is the month in which to get organised outdoors if you want to achieve the very best during the forthcoming gardening season. Let’s look at some gardening tasks and fire up enthusiasm for everything to come:
Love the lawn 

Green lawn with flowering ornamental tree with pink blossom It's time to look after your green carpet

Lawns will already be growing and you can start to mow if the weather is mild. Just keep the cutter high and be gentle. Stay off the grass in wet conditions as you will compact the soil, squeezing out the air and curbing healthy grass growth. You (probably) don’t need your garden to look like Hampton Court gardens, but bare patches will invite lots of pioneer, opportunist plants – i.e. weeds!

Use tools to save your back!

short handled hoe with some spring flowers There are mini-tools as well as the long-handled variety, for those who like to be close to the soil.

Pick up a hoe and use it  during dry March weather. Or you can weed by hand if it suits. You want to begin before the roots of those pesky plants get a hold. Nature abhors a vacuum and whatever resilient seed is around and about is likely to take hold on bare soil. So the moral of the tale is to cover your surfaces. Fill every little niche with plants and where you can see soil, apply a nice thick mulch. Keep it away from soft plant stems, however, as it is likely to burn.

Pruning - it's a snip!

Forsythia shrub in full yellow bloom Love it or loathe the rather garish yellow flowers of Forsythia, but there's no doubt that it makes a spring impact!

Prune back your early spring flowering shrubs once flowering has finished. But don’t be tempted to give everything the ‘housing estate chop’. In other words, don’t round everything into a dome. Plants have preferences and you really need to refer to pruning guides to get it right. Forsythia, for example, should have the older stems cut right down to the ground. So pruning is more about thinning out than merely reducing height. Allow plants to grow into the shape that they crave, just adjusting here and there where necessary.

Want to promote good stem colour next winter?

Winter stem colour from dogwood The glorious winter stem colour of Cornus is like a fire in dark months.

Cut back Salix and Cornus that are being grown for their vibrant winter stem colour. If you take the stems down almost to the ground, the new growth will appear thick and vertical, preparing for next winter’s amazing display.

Magical underground mysteries

pink Lilies There are so many summer flowers that come from bulbs. These lilies are beautiful

Plant summer flowering bulbs during March. There are bulbs for all seasons and the very act of planting feels like a little bit of magic. The majority of bulbs can be planted and then forgotten until their wonderful flowers emerge.

Down in the vegetable and kitchen garden

radish grow your own The growing season is upon us! Look forward to your luscious produce and start sowing seed now!

Broad beans can be sown this month. Plant them about 5cm deep and 15cm apart.

Beetroot seeds can also be sown, planted around 2cm deep and 10cm apart.

Carrots can go in, at about 1.5cm deep and 15cm apart. Choose varieties that have been grown specifically to resist carrot root fly. And sow thinly to avoid needing to take out congested seedlings – because the scent is likely to attract carrot fly.

onions growing in the garden Get those onion sets started soon! They are such an easy crop to grow.

Onions are great crops for beginners. Plant sets 10cm apart.

Plant first early potatoes during March, having chitted them first to encourage sprouting.

Brussels sprout seeds can be sown around 1cm deep and 15cm apart.

Plant herbs near the kitchen door! Many have wonderful flowers that attract pollinating insects too, and the herby aroma will waft indoors during warm days.

rosemary herb growing in the garden Rosemary produces lovely blue flowers as well as aromatic scent and taste for the kitchen.

Fruity business

March is still a great time in which to plant fruit trees. Apples, pears, plums, cherry and even peach, nectarine and apricot can go into the ground this month. Just remember to water well during their first season if the weather is dry. The more unusual fruits need a sheltered, south or south-west-facing site if they are to provide fruit.

bee on blossom Fruit trees produce wonderful blossom as well as ornamental trees. And you get wonderful fruit too.

Don’t forget to pop in some soft fruit bushes too. Blueberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries and more unusual varieties such as lingonberries are widely available.

Don’t delay, your garden needs you this month!