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What to do in the garden this month

What to do in the garden in March

There's always something to be doing in the garden, whether it's pruning, tidying or sowing, so we've put together our top gardening tasks for March.

flower garden daffodil In the flower garden

  • • If the soil is workable, dig in a 5cm (or more) layer of compost or well rotted manure into your beds to prepare for the growing season ahead. You can also work in a general purpose fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or fish, blood and bone.
  • • If you need to move deciduous trees or shrubs, now is the time to do it provided the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.
  • • Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a slow-release fertiliser by lightly forking it into the soil surface.
  • • Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as Gladiolus, Lilies and Ranunculus into beds, borders and containers.
  • • Plant out any forced flower bulbs in the garden, such as hyacinths and daffodils which have finished flowering indoors.
  • • Plant snowdrops in the green to brighten up your winter garden next year.
  • • Now is an ideal time to plant herbaceous perennials. Lift and divide established perennial plants now to improve their vigour and create new plants for your garden.
  • • If any of your garden plants will need supporting this year, put the supports in now so the plants grow up through them. Adding supports afterwards is difficult and often looks unattractive.
  • • Plant bare root roses.
  • • Roses should be fed with a special rose feed or a balanced fertiliser as they come into growth.
  • • Prune roses to encourage strong new growth. Remember to wear gardening gloves to protect from thorns.
  • • Sow your flower seeds now so they are ready for planting out in June.
  • • Hardy annuals can be sown directly into the soil. Alternatively sow them in pots or module trays for planting out later in the spring.
  • • Begonia tubers that have been started into growth will start to produce new leaves. As leaves appear, pot them up individually.
  • • Hardwood cuttings taken last year may need planting or potting on now.
  • • Prune early-flowering Clematis once their flowers have finished and summer-flowering Clematis before they start into active growth - find out how using our clematis pruning guide .
  • • Finish cutting back shrubs grown for their colourful winter stems such as Cornus and Salix cultivars. Cut them back to their bases.
  • • Cut out the top rosette of leaves from Mahonia shrubs after they have flowered to encourage branching.
  • • Finish cutting back any dead foliage left on your perennials and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth.
  • • Prune overwintered fuchsias back to one or two buds on each shoot.
  • • Prune Winter Flowering Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) after flowering to encourage new growth for next year's blooms. Cut back the previous years growth to 5cm from the old wood.
  • • Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent the plants becoming leggy.
  • • Cut off the old leaves of Hellebores to remove any foliar diseases and make the spring flowers more visible.
  • • Continue to deadhead faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring.
  • • Deadhead daffodils as the flowers finish and let the foliage die back naturally.
  • • Dead-head Hydrangeas before new growth appears. Cut to about one third of last season's growth.
  • • Keep an eye out for slugs as the weather warms; they favour soft new growth. Use nematodes for an effective organic control.

vegetable garden carrot In the vegetable garden

  • • If the soil is workable, dig in a 5cm (or more) layer of compost, well rotted manure or green waste into your beds to prepare for the growing season ahead.
  • • Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds and forking in plenty of compost. Cover prepared soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for planting.
  • • If you've grown green manures over the winter, now is the time to dig them in whilst their stems are still soft.
  • • Begin chitting (sprouting) seed potatoes on delivery.
  • • Towards the end of the month plant your chitted early potatoes outside in the ground. If you don't have enough space for growing potatoes on your plot, why not try potato growing kits for your patio? To find out more growing potatoes in bags or in the ground, take a look at our potato growing guides.
  • • Plant asparagus beds from crowns. Weed and mulch existing asparagus beds. Asparagus has shallow roots so weed by hand to prevent damage. Dig trench about 20 - 25cm deep and 30cm wide, and add liberal amount of well rotted compost to the base of the trench mixed with 85g/ sqm. of blood, fish and bone, or bonemeal. Carefully place the crowns 45cm apart in the trench, spreading the roots out, and cover with some sieved soil and ensure the emerging buds are just below soil level.
  • • Plant onion, shallot and garlic sets provided the soil isn't frozen or waterlogged. Alternatively pot up sets into individual pots for transplanting outdoors later on.
  • • Start to direct sow vegetable seeds such as carrots, radishes and lettuce in greenhouse borders or under cloches.

fruit garden strawberry In the fruit garden

  • Plant apple trees , cherry trees and other fruit trees now in a sunny, sheltered spot.
  • • Continue to plant raspberry canes.
  • • Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground to stimulate new canes, which will fruit in the autumn. Cut the tips of summer-fruiting raspberry canes that have grown beyond the top of their supports; cut just above a bud.
  • • Remember to feed your blueberry plants with ericaceous plant fertiliser.
  • • Protect the blossoms of apricots, peaches and nectarines from frost with a screen or some horticultural fleece. These stone fruit trees can also be planted now.
  • • Mulch fruit trees with well rotted manure or garden compost taking care not to mound mulch up around the trunk.
  • • Mulch rhubarb with a thick layer of well-rotted manure to keep it healthy and reduce moisture loss through the soil. Take care not to cover the crown. You can also plant fresh rhubarb crowns now.
  • • Covering your strawberries with a cloche will encourage earlier fruiting.

In the greenhouse greenhouse In the greenhouse

  • • Start sowing winter brassicas in a seed trays in a cold greenhouse.
  • • Start sowing your bedding plant seeds now ready to plant out after the last frosts.
  • • For better seed germination in cold weather, try using an electric propagator to help your early sowings along.
  • • Repot orchids and other houseplants before they start into active growth again.
  • • Pot on rooted cuttings of tender perennial plants taken last summer.
  • • Bring strawberries under cover for an earlier crop.
  • • Bring bags of compost into the greenhouse to warm up for a week or two before you start sowing.
  • • Ventilate greenhouses and coldframes on warm days.
  • • Sow tomato seeds in a heated greenhouse for early crops. Use our tomato selector guide to help you choose which variety to grow.

 Looking after your lawn lawnmower Looking after your lawn

  • • Recut any lawn edges if necessary. Try installing lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.
  • • If your lawn needs mowing choose a dry day to complete this. Ensure the blades are set higher than usual.
  • • New turf can be laid if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.
  • • If you'd rather grow your lawn from seed, prepare the soil now to allow it time to settle before sowing.

From your armchair armchair From your armchair

  • • Order your seeds and plug plants online now ready for beautiful displays in your containers and hanging baskets this year.
  • • Order your fruit trees now for planting this spring. If space is limited in your garden try growing dwarf fruit trees.
  • • If you're running out of windowsill space this year, try buying vegetable plants for a hassle-free start to your vegetable garden.
  • • Sort your seeds by sowing date, month by month.
  • • Use a diary to keep track of which seeds you are sowing and when they were sown - it really helps later in the year.
  • • Consider using green waste to improve your soil; visit your local council’s website.

Other garden jobs wheelbarrow Other jobs about the garden

  • • Re-surface paths before plants grow and smother them.
  • • Get rid of slimy patches on the patio and paving by scrubbing with a broom or blasting with a pressure washer.
  • • If you don't already know what type of soil you have, invest in a soil testing kit to help you choose the right plants for your garden.
  • • Top up raised beds with compost and good quality topsoil.
  • • Begin weeding as the weather warms - weeds are more easily controlled if removed young.
  • • Buy fresh compost from your local garden centre and store it in a cool dry place in preparation for the season ahead. Check your compost bins to see if there is any compost ready to use.
  • • Check containers to ensure the soil hasn't dried out.
  • • Top-dress containers by removing the top 2.5cm (1") of soil and replacing it with fresh compost.
  • • Now is a great time to build a compost bin before the growing season gets underway.
  • • Water butts are a worthwhile investment for the season ahead. Position them under a downpipe to make the most of rainfall.
  • • It is worth giving your watering cans a scrub to prevent fungal diseases.
  • • Move plants from the greenhouse to a cold frame before planting out to give them time to adjust to cooler temperatures.
  • • Plant native hedges to encourage wildlife.
  • • Now is a good time to install a new pond or water feature.
  • • Remove any netting left over your pond from the autumn/winter.

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