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Gardening guide for March

by admin

The great thing about spring approaching is that, even though bad weather may have kept you away from any gardening, there’s still lots happening out there!

In our garden, the spring bulbs are now starting to peek out and show their potential. So far I have some lovely blue irises, some purple and white crocuses and a couple of lovely yellow nodding daffodils… with more on the way, I hope.

Blue iris flower in bloom

Elsewhere, there are signs of what’s to come. There is new growth on my clematis and on my roses, and the cherry tree is budding up nicely.

So – assuming the weather is kind this month, here are some ideas for tasks to do in the garden this March.

Plant some summer bulbs

Orange lilys

It’s so easy to grow incredible lilys from bulbs.

With lots of tempting bulbs in the shops now, why not think about summer colour and get those bulbs in the ground now? It’s a really easy and low cost way to brighten up your beds later in the year.

Some of my favourites are lillies, gladioli, begonias, agapanthus and crocosmias.

Sow plants from seeds – both flowers and edibles

Dahlia seedlings growing on the windowsill

There are so many plants you can get started from seed this month. All you need is a sunny greenhouse or a warm windowsill to give them a kick start. Some flower ideas include nasturtiums, poppies, dahlias and one of my big favourites – cosmos. And for the veg patch – you can kick off your chilli plants and tomatoes now, to ensure they’re ready to give you the longest possible cropping time this year. Chillis and tomatoes will need to be grown under glass or indoors for now, it’s too cold for them to be planted straight out. But you can plant broad beans, beetroot and rainbow chard straight outside this month, ready for a summer crop. If, like me, you like growing your own salad leaves, you can start this now – indoors probably best for the time being.

Dig for victory! 

This top tip comes from Liz Brown, one of the members of our Support Local in Lowton, Golborne, Newton-le-Willows & Culcheth Facebook group. Liz has an allotment plot up at Bents Garden Centre and says: “my tip is to do some double digging to get rid of any perennial weeds such as mare’s tail. It’s much easier to do a major weed between November and the end of March. I have a spade called a root slayer. I would recommend it if  you’re doing a lot of digging in overgown areas. Once you’ve done a year or two of double digging, you can then go to ‘no dig’ gardening.”

Get a start on the veg patch

Onion sets growing in a raised bed in March

If you are growing your own veg, March is the time to really get started. Once the soil begins to warm up, you can plant out things like shallots, onions and first early potatoes. I also plan to grow spring onions and radishes – which are usually the first edibles ready in my garden.

Towards the end of this month, if the weather is mild, you can sow cabbages, broccoli and cauliflowers, as well as peas, broad beans, parsnips and turnips.

So plenty to keep you busy!

Bring dahlia tubers out of ‘hibernation’

Dahlia tuber that has been stored over winter

If you lifted and stored your dahlia tubers after the first frosts last year, now’s the time to start bringing them back to life.

I keep my dahlias wrapped in newspaper in the garage over the winter, and wake them up by potting them up in March and bringing them indoors to warm up and start to sprout new shoots. I only plant them out a few months later, when they’ve put on some significant growth, as I’ve learnt to my cost that slugs LOVE to eat my young dahlia plants!

It may even be time for the first grass cut of the season

You may be able to do your first lawn mow of the season this month. For the first cut, keep the blades high. It’s also a good idea to tidy up lawn edges which can really smarten up the overall appearance of your borders. Don’t want to do it yourself? Why not ask one of the gardeners listed in our Local Directory to take the strain?

Give your plants a good feed to set them up for the season

Pieris Forest Flame in flower

If you have ericaceous shrubs, such as azaleas, camellias, pierus or rhododendrons, now is a good time to give them a good feed with some eircaceous fertliser. Similarly, its a good idea to add new compost or well-rotted manure to your flower beds and containers. You can also work in some general purpose fertiliser to give them even more of a boost.

Guard against the return of the pests!

Watch out, as this month one of the gardener’s least favourite friends, those dreaded slugs, could be back on the scene. Look for damage to spring shoots and choose your favourite slug barrier method to protect them. Nematodes are an option but the soil needs to be warm enough first. Choose a method that’s kind to the environment and other, friendlier garden visitors before you choose slug pellets if you can. I must admit, I do love a beer trap (they’re gross, but effective) and there are some other great ideas here.

In need of some help in your garden?

Check out the local gardening companies we have listed in our Local Directory for Newton-le-Willows if you need help in the garden – from mowing the lawn to total landscaping projects.

About the author:

My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Newton-le-Willows News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I’m currently in the middle of transforming my new ‘blank canvas’ garden into something filled with flowers, and a few edibles, too. You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.

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