March is just the best month in the garden. It really feels like the darkness of winter is finally behind us! The sun starts to feel warm although don’t be fooled, the weather can bite back when you least expect it in March!
Today was a fairly typical March day. We had couple of hours of warm sunshine this morning and by this afternoon we had torrential rain. I did however manage to move a few forsythia lynwood gold plants this morning. I find early March the best time to move and/or divide plants as they are still dormant and won’t be shocked by a move. Also planted a few herbs I raised in the nursery last year to outside the new workshop. Idea is to soften the hard edges of the concrete foundations and have a few herbs on hand when we bbq in the summer.
That’s the great thing about March … it really does feel like it’s time to start some serious gardening again. I don’t know why but there is some significance to the first day of March. It gives me a sense of real sense of hope. Just today I see the frogs returned to the pond and seem to be making loads of frog spawn. Naughty froggies! Also the birds have started to sing again which is another sure sign Spring is on it’s way.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to share a series of 5 short posts detailing some of the jobs that I get up to in my gardening in the month of March. Here’s what I’m planning.
- Preparing for what’s e for the year ahead.
- Getting ready for the Spring Plant Sale.
- Kick start the vegetable garden.
- Spring treatment for the lawn.
- General tidy up for the wildlife pond.
In this the first of my posts my gardening years starts in earnest with lots of prep!
Preparing for what’s ahead.
Of course we all want to get out there and start digging and planting but it’s pretty likely (in the UK at least) that the ground is still too wet and too cold to grow anything … at least not from seed anyway. But how can you tell if it’s warm enough or dry enough?
That’s and easy one… just pick up a handful of soil and feel it. Does it feel cold? Try scrunching it up tight in your hand and you’ll soon know because it will feel wet and compacted. Ideally it will feel like soil should feel, friable and warm to the touch. If it isn’t then leave it well alone or you’ll just get soil everywhere … and I do mean everywhere!
Certainly don’t think about sowing seeds or you’ll be wasting your time. I’ve tried early sowing in the past and I found it doesn’t really get me ahead. I’d rather wait until early April when the conditions will be better. A good barometer is to look out for the weeds. When they start growing it’s a sure sign the soil conditions are about right for sowing. I’m going to wait until April when the soil will be in much better condition to be worked.
I’m fortunate to have a polytunnel so can kick start a few of the more hardy veg but even then I’ll usually wait until the third week of March at least before starting. Onion sets are about the only thing and a few brassica that I have growing at the moment.
One job I always do this time of the year is to turn the compost heap. The good stuffs often at the bottom of the pile so I like to get it to the top ready to scatter onto the vegetable garden when the weather allows. You can of course go for all the double digging stuff but I rarely double dig. As we garden on chalky soil any double digging would simply turn the chalk to the top.
If you’ve never made your own garden compost then I urge you to have a try. It’s easier than you think.
Treat the fences to a paint job.
Early March is the time of year I service the various fences around the garden. Most of the fencing around our plot is post and rail which need some form of preservative treatment if they are to last. All to often we spend money on expensive wooden fences or perhaps an art studio at the bottom of the garden, but we forget that wood will rot over time if it’s not treated. It’s not the most exciting job in the world but I get a great sense of satisfaction when the job is done.
You don’t have to stick to the usual green or black, there are loads of colours out there to choose from. Just make sure you use a bucket and a decent size brush to do the job or you’ll be there forever.
Time for a good tidy up.
I find early March is when I feel the need to have a general tidy up in the garden. The winter can take it’s toll and I usually end up retrieving plant pots and all sorts of stuff from my neighbours plot. Time spent sorting through your pots and tidying up the canes and hazel sticks pays dividends later in the year when if you’re like me you’d rather be working with the plants.
So if you do nothing else in the garden this week try to have a general sort round and look forward to a few stress free months in the summer.
In my next post we’ll look at giving the polytunnel a service and set about the next phase of my plant nursery in readiness for my Spring plant sales.
As always any questions or comments please feel free to leave below.
PS: If you’re interested in running your own plant sale to make a little extra money perhaps for your family or a favourite charity then you might find this post helpful. Also if you’d like to join our mailing list then you’ll receive a copy of my guide to frugal gardening which has loads of tips on how to start your own plant nursery in your back garden.