You wouldn’t think it from the icy blast we’ve been having but we are now officially in the first month of Spring! I don’t know about you but we are definitely ready for sunshine here at the nursery.
Here are our top tips for March to keep your garden looking lovely:
- 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 (Singletons have great offers on Erin multi-purpose compost at the moment), 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.
- Plant native hedges to encourage wildlife.
- Remove any netting left over your pond from the autumn/winter.
- 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.
- We advise you to order your plug plants now. You don’t even need a greenhouse to grow them on – a sunny back bedroom or window sill will be enough. When you pot up, add some easy feed or plug boost, so your plants get the very best start. And, another little tip, give the tips a pinch a couple of times while the plants are young, this will make them nice and bushy, with more flowers!
- Have you thought about using a diary to keep track of which seeds you are sowing and when they were sown? It really helps later in the year.
- Prepare your beds for planting. 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 (like 6X), Groworganic (which Singletons keep in stock), or fish, blood and bone.
- 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.
- 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 like Q4 or alternative 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.
- 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.
- Hardy annuals can be sown directly into the soil. Alternatively sow them in pots or module trays for planting out later in the spring.
- Prune early-flowering Clematis once their flowers have finished and summer-flowering Clematis before they start into active growth.
- 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.
- Dead-head 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.
In the Vegetable Garden
If you’ve grown green manures over the winter, now is the time to dig them in whilst their stems are still soft.
Sow early broad beans. Singletons stock a lovely range by kings seeds and early peas in seed trays of compost, just pushing the seeds into the compost, to transplant later. If you use Row planters filled with multipurpose or seed compost and space sow then the young plants can be carefully transferred from the Row planters to a prepared shallow trench in the veg 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.
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.
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.
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.