Jobs for March

FLOWER GARDEN

  • Buy and plant container grown herbaceous plants, shrubs and climbers
  • Sow hardy annuals such as sunflower, candytuft, marigold and love-in-the-mist in the open ground
  • At the end of the month, prune dogwoods and willows grown for their bark
  • Cut back winter heathers after flowering using shears
  • Prune plants where you want big leaves, such as eucalyptus and Indian bean tree (catalpa)
  • Lift and split overcrowded clumps of snowdrop
  • Plant the sweet pea seedlings you sowed earlier in the greenhouse
  • Spike the lawn to improve aeration and drainage
  • Repair lawn edges

CONTAINER GARDENING

  • Keep dead-heading your winter pansies
  • Grow patio roses in pots for a long season of flowering. Flower Carpet varieties are good, and 'Irish Eyes' was Rose of the Year for 2000
  • Repot house plants Repot half-hardy fuchsias
  • Start liquid feeding shrubs in pots every two weeks

KITCHEN GARDEN

  • Cover wet soil with cloches for two or three weeks before sowing or planting
  • Chit maincrop potatoes
  • Sow hardy veg such as peas,lettuce and radish. For small gardens, try mini varieties
  • Grow parsley from seed - boiling water poured along the drill first warms up the soil and enhances germination
  • Sow other herbs; salad rocket is very easy to grow
  • In warm areas, plant early potatoes

GREENHOUSE

  • Plant begonia tubers
  • In heated greenhouses sow tender vegetables - aubergine, indoor tomatoes, chillies and peppers
  • Sow bedding plants such as nicotiana, antirrhinum and salvia
  • Pot up overwintered geranium cuttings
  • Take cuttings from new growth of herbaceous plants such as delphinium, lupin and aster

Feed and mulch
Weed your borders, gently forking over the soil and working in a balanced fertiliser such as Osmocote, Vitax Q4 or Growmore. Then top-dress with garden compost or a proprietary mulch product from a garden centre. This will set up your herbaceous plants, trees, shrubs and fruit for the whole season.


NOW'S THE TIME

  • LIFT OVERCROWDED HERBACEOUS PLANTS
    Split Michaelmas daisies, sedums, day lilies and hostas into smaller pieces and replant in groups of three or five.
    Flowering vigour will be restored.
  • GET RID OF MOSS
    If you want a better lawn, apply moss killer.
    Two weeks later, rake out the dead patches and feed.
    If time is short, use a combined fertiliser/moss killer.
  • BUY PLUG PLANTS OR SEEDLINGS
    Grow them on in a greenhouse for summer containers - and save a lot of money.
  • PRUNE BUSH ROSES
    Cut back to an outward-facing bud.
    Remove dead or crossed stems.
  • WATCH OUT FOR SLUGS
    Particularly on bulb flowers.
    Aluminium sulphate is less risky to wildlife and pets than slug pellets.