What's happening in the garden now...
The page below lists the various tasks that Ben and the team will be completing in the garden this month. Split into four main sections the lists will hopefully help you structure and plan your own gardening work schedule... so lets get busy
It’s March and there are days when it feels like spring is most definitely here…and then it turns cold and wet again! Despite these fluctuations, day length and light intensity are increasing whilst soil temperatures steadily rise…and the plants feel it too!
In the garden the variety of jobs and urgency of work dramatically increases. From seed sowing to potting on, lifting, dividing, staking, planting and pruning. But just like the plants, gardeners are more often than not full of enthusiasm too …so don’t delay, get out there and enjoy what this month has to offer.
Finalise sowing lists and order any last-minute varieties.
Rake, weed and tidy paths to give the garden an instant ‘pick me up’.
Top dress, feed or repot permanent plantings in pots and containers to increase nutrient levels and promote healthy growth.
Complete any lawn care that you may wish to do. Rolling out bumps, a light scarify or hollow tine will all have positive effect on the quality of the sward and appearance of your lawn this year.
Keep a very watchful eye out for Box Blight if the weather is damp and mild, as it is most prevalent now and during autumn.
Grub out any brambles or perennial weeds that may have sneaked into the garden whilst your back was turned during last year’s growing season.
Complete cutting back pollarded willows and pleeched lime trees, keep some of the discarded material as this can often be used in spring to help build plant support structures.
Clear, tidy and organise sheds and storage buildings, checking plant supports, nets and cloches are in working order and ready to use.
Check and clear all gutters and drainage channels to avoid blockages and potential flood risk during periods of heavy rainfall.
Order any summer flowering bulbs and tubers that you may wish to grow this year, including Dahlias, Gladioli and Lillies.
Prune shrubs that require winter or spring pruning (generally shrubs that flower late summer on current season’s growth or plants grown for winter stem affect). This should promote healthy new growth, flowering and a good shape for the season ahead.
Source and order various sundries such as Pea Sticks and Mulch, for use during spring.
Watch out for excessive slug and snail damage on the first growth of Clematis and perennials like Delphinium and Echinacea. Protect and treat accordingly.
Finish any planting of bare root trees, shrubs and hedging, incorporating a mychorrhizal fungi. Water in to settle the soil and then mulch with well rotten organic matter to aid establishment.
Plan summer container planting and begin sowing any annuals that you may require for the displays.
Complete planting of ‘bulbs in the green’, these can include Cyclamen coum, Snow Drops, Winter Aconites, and Anemone blanda.
Organise for any build or landscape work to be completed in the next month, preventing any potential damage that might occur to emerging new plant growth.
Prepare for the coming growing season, check you have you’re your seeds, sundries, tools and other supplies in place to make sure this year will be a growing success!
When weather permits open windows and ventilate, helping to reduce fungal problems and build-up of condensation.
On hot days check watering of young seedlings to ensure they do not dry out.
Begin to think about possible shading for the summer months, researching options and organise supplies.
Grow on winter/early spring salad crops and herbs under glass, either in pots or soil beds.
Check, tidy and prune overwintering plants such as tender Fuchsia, Pelargonium and Plectranthus, removing debris and dead plant tissue to reduce the risk of fungal and mould problems.
Lightly trim excessive growth on newly propagated and potted plants to encourage a bushy habit whilst improving light and air circulation.
Start off the first crop of broad beans and peas in modules, if an autumn sowing was not possible and conditions outside are still too cold.
Sow early salad crops, tender annuals and perennials to grow on in modules and plant out later in the spring.
Prick out seedlings into modules to encourage future growth, this is best completed first thing in the morning when plants are fully turgid. The modules should then kept out of direct sunlight for a day whilst the seedlings recover.
Research and order any biological control or cultural equipment that you may need to control glass house pests this season.
Finish sowing early trays of seed onions and leeks, along with aubergines, peppers and chilies, as well as a second sowing of Sweetpeas.
Begin taking soft tip cuttings from ‘forced’ stock plants such as Dahlia, Delphinium, Salvia and Pelargonium.
Force pot grown strawberries and early potatoes in order to extend the cropping season.
Sow pots of peas under glass to produce early crops of ‘pea shoots’ for adding to salads.
Pot up Dahlia tubers and grow on under glass, only planting outside after the risk of frost. This will help against slug damage and ensure a good display of flowers.
Check stored vegetables, removing any that are rotting or damaged by rodents, using prevention methods where required.
Complete digging over vegetable beds, incorporating any green manure that may exist.
Grow on and harvest any salad crops that have been grown under protection tunnels or in the green house.
Enrich soil beds by lightly mulching with rotten manure, compost or soil improver, which will benefit hungry crops such as beans, peas, celeriac and potatoes.
Construct tunnels and cloches so as to warm soil on sunny days, in preparation for early sowings and panting of vegetables.
If conditions allow begin direct sowing Beetroot, Carrot, Parsnip and Radish, as well as Broad Beans.
Direct sow hardy annuals for cutting, such as Centaurea, Cerinthe, Consolida, Nigella and Orlaya, along with any others that dislike root disturbance.
Complete planting of any new additions to the fruit collection, including fruit trees and strawberries, taking advantage of strong growing bare-root plants.
If not already done so, complete pruning of soft fruit plants like gooseberries, currants and raspberries, checking and re-tying trained forms.
Cut back autumn raspberries hard to the ground, if not already completed.
Plant any additional Gladioli and Lilly bulbs in cutting beds, for harvesting later in the year.
Stake cutting beds and build growing structures for plants requiring support; these include Asters, Delphiniums, Peonies and Sweet Peas.
Continue to force rhubarb and begin to crop. Excluding light from the crowns will encourage tender new growth but be mindful of potential slug and snail damage.
Protect young growth of peach and nectarine from rain to avoid Leaf Curl.
Continue chitting seed potatoes so they are ready for planting in mid-spring, once soil temperatures have warmed up.
Continue to harvest any leeks, kale, spring greens and early sprouting broccoli, whilst clearing the last of the beetroot, celeriac and old parsnip to make way for this year’s crops.
Check cutting tulips for blight, removing and burning infected bulbs and foliage.
Cut Hyacinths, Narcissus, Anemone and Euphorbia, bringing the early spring garden inside the house.
Complete cutting back and tidy any borders in preparation for spring maintenance and to enhance spring bulb displays.
Complete lifting and dividing hardy perennials that require it and only when weather permits. Consult notes from last summer so that you have a clear idea about what changes in the borders need to be made.
List and source additional plants for borders that need renovating and improving. Order and plant during the spring to take advantage of optimum growing conditions.
Source seed and plan to sow any annual plants that you may want to add to the borders later in the year.
Check and construct supports for climbers that exist within the borders, or for annual ones that you may wish to add as a ‘seasonal extra’.
Weed over and tidy the surface of any un-mulched borders to prevent early establishment of weed seedlings, whilst creating a smart setting for spring bulb displays.
If required lift and move existing shrubs to their desired location within the border. Ensure a thorough watering after planting and during any dry conditions in the following months.
Look to complete planting of any additional trees and shrubs to mixed borders, avoiding unnecessary disturbance to surrounding plants as they come into growth.
Assess the borders and list any additional early flowering spring bulbs, such as Crocus, Chionodoxa and Scilla, which you may wish to add this autumn.
After heavy frosts check that any newly planted specimens have not been lifted from the soil, firm and water in as necessary.
Prune back hard Clematis that are vigorous, sprouting from the base and flower later in the year from current seasons growth (known as Group 3), these include the viticellas and texensis types amongst others.
Construct staking around any perennials that may need support later in the year, this can include woven hazel or birch, canes, beanpoles, netting and metal hoops.
Order and begin to apply mulch if beds have begun to warm and weather conditions permit.
Cut and redefine turf edges so that the borders look tidy and are easier to weed later in the season.