What to do in the garden in March

VEGETABLE GARDEN

  • Sow tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, as well as French beans for early forcing, either in a heated propagator, greenhouse or indoors on a warm windowsill. It is also time to start sowing, cucumber, celery and celeriac under cover.
  • Sow summer cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, parsley, turnips, Brussels sprouts, early peas, summer spinach, lettuce and radishes outdoors, in a sheltered spot or under cloches. Once the seedlings are emerging strongly above the soil, remove the covering to prevent them becoming weak and drawn.
  • Sow leeks, parsnips, onions, leaks, seakale and kohlrabi. They can also be sown outside without protection.
  • Plant Jerusalem artichokes shallots and garlic, if you haven’t yet. 
  • Plant Autumn-sown onions. Space them 15cm apart. Onion sets should be planted with the tops only just showing above the soil surface so that starlings
  • Frame raised summer cabbages sown last month and autumn sown cauliflowers can also be plant out onto their final positions. Use a dibber to plant cabbage, allowing 30-40 cm between the rows. 
  • You can plant early potatoes that were chitted indoors. Plant them during the latter half of the month, given the soil isn’t too cold or wet. Plant them 30 cm apart with 60 cm between the rows. Protect them from frosts once they have developed shoots above ground.
  • Plant rhubarb, ensuring it has plenty of room and a rich and heavily manured soil at the time of planting.
  • Make a raised bed to force crops.
  • Plant Mint.
  • Sow basil, chervil, thyme, sage and marjoram indoors. Borage, chives and dill can also be sown outdoors in a sheltered spot, ideally near the kitchen.
  • Feed Spring cabbages that were sown last August with Ecoworm Soil Extract.

FRUIT GARDEN

  • Finish planting new fruit trees and bushes.
  • Container plants can be planted at any time, however the dormant season (November-March) is still the best time. 
  • Spray apple, pear, cherry, peach, and plum trees against pests. Fruit trees should be sprayed when the bud tips separate into leaves). Spray for aphids, mildew, mites and scab.
  • Prune fruit trees, bushes and autumn raspberries by the end of the month. Autumn raspberries (which flower and fruit on the current season’s growth) should be pruned by cutting the old fruited canes down to ground level. Apple and pear trees should be pruned in January. Prune plums the last. This will reduce the risk of ‘silver leaf’ fungus. In country areas, leave the pruning of red currants and gooseberries until just before growth starts in the spring.
  • You can plant raspberries now, or leave it for autumn. Choose a sunny, sheltered site. It is very important for summer-fruiting raspberries, because they flower earlier than autumn-fruiting ones. Cut the canes back to 23 cm above ground. Canes tied to a single-fence system in August should be pruned 15 cm above the top wire. Pinch the tips from canes trained between parallel wires to encourage growth.
  • Start strawberry beds. Choose a sunny, open site, and make sure it has been deeply dug and well manured. Space the plants 45 cm apart, in rows 60 cm apart. Do not forget to water, weed and ventilate strawberries grown under cloches.
  • Gooseberries should be planted in a moisture retentive, rich soil containing plenty of potash. Gooseberries, can tolerate light shade as well as full sun. Space plants 1.5m apart. After planting, cut the main shoots back by half, and cut out any weak, dead or diseased wood completely.
  • You can now plant blackcurrants, white currants and redcurrants. Plant them 1.5m apart. Blackcurrants should go 5cm below the soil mark. This encourages plants to send out strong shoots that will form its framework. After planting, cut back the shoot to three or four buds above ground.
  • Protect fruit trees & bushes from frost. It is even more important in March than February because more fruits will have started growing. In April and May, the need for vigilance gets even greater.  You can simply drape fleece or netting over bushes and small trees at nights when there is a risk of frost.

LAWN

  • Rake the lawn. First in one direction, then another, in order to get rid of dead leaves and moss. Later brush over with a still yard to scatter any worm casts.
  • Trim lawn edges, using a sharp, half moon edging tool.
  • In the end of the month feed the lawn with Ecoworm Soil Extract.
  • Prepare the soil if you have dug over an area to be turfed or seeded this spring. Break up the clods and soil and remove any rubbish, stones and perennial weeds. Rake the surface to even tilth, then apply Ecoworm Soil Extract.
  • Scarify and rake the lawn.
  • Lay a new lawn. March is one of the best months for that.

TREES & SHRUBS

  • Keep on pruning any late flowering climbers and shrubs that flower on last year’s shoots. Feed with Ecoworm Soil Extract and mulch around the roots of plants to retain moisture.
  • Protect delicate shrubs from frosts.
  • Plant new climbers and check supports for existing ones.
  • Plant evergreens and conifers, ornamental trees and shrubs.

FLOWER GARDEN

  • Plant herbaceous perennials, including Geranium, Astrantia and Oriental poppies.
  • Lift and divide established plants.
  • Sow half-hardy annuals and alpines under cover.
  • Prick out seedlings from previous sowings.
  • Plant gladiolus and other corms.
  • Take cuttings of chrysanthemums, fuchsias, pelargoniums and dahlias under glass.

Read more:
What to do in the garden in February
What to do in the garden in April