This is out March guide, that suggests which gardening tasks, you should consider doing in the month of March. Well as you would guess, Spring is thankfully in the air. March is of course an unpredictable month for weather, and that can vary a lot between the North and the South of the UK.
We are still prone to a lot of winter showers, and to weather conditions such as frost, snow, hail, rain and strong winds. That is even more likely in the earlier days of the month. There is however also the chance of strong drying winds, and indeed good amounts of sunshine. With all of these potential combinations, it is indeed a tricky month for gardeners.
Gardening Conditions and not the Calendar
With such extreme variations in the UK weather, you need to be guided by the actual soil conditions, the condition of the ground and not by which month it happens to be. Some years we get mild enough weather, other years it can be quite poor. You need to make the best judgement based on the actual precise weather conditions at the time.
What Gardening Tasks Should You Have in Your March Plan?
There are however some good general guidelines that I would like to offer for all gardeners in the month of March. I have listed these below, and I do hope that you find them very useful.
Prepare for Sowing
One of the most exciting things to do, is to get ready for sowing. By now your soil should have been turned over, and the frost should have done its job. Now is the time to further break down that soil with a fork. Just check that the surface of the soil has started to dry. if it has get the garden fork through it, and continue to break it up.
Once forked then break it down even further with a garden rake, until you have a fine and crumbled texture. Just remember, on heavy or clay soils, wait until the clods are hardened enough. You can test that by hitting the sods with the back of the fork. If they start to break easily, that is a good time to work those as well.
Preparing Soil for a New Lawn
In the video below, you will see how to prepare soil for a new lawn. The way soil is prepared is important and will lead to healthy growth if you get it right.
March is really too late to dig deep into clay type soils. if you find yourself in that position, then only dig down a few inches. Then work in some kind of manure, or organic compost with a fork and rake. When that is done, add a compound fertiliser and again rake and firm the soil.
Some gardeners like to sow early. If you plan on doing that, then it is vitally important that the soil is warm enough. If you are unsure, then use something like a soil thermometer just to be on the safe side.
If you want to have good plants, and who doesn't, then the more vigourously plants grow, the stronger plants they will become. For initial strong growth, you need to have air, moisture and of course warmth. Sowing seeds therefore needs to take account of all three.
As such seeds buried too deep, will suffer from lack of air, and seeds not sown deeply enough will suffer if the ground dries out. Learning to sow seeds does a take a little time to master. Porous soil and warmth are however key.
The Proper Use of Fertilisers
The purpose of fertilisers is to provide plants with essential nutrients, that ensure healthy growth. Plants pull these nutrients from the soil. Therefore if you have poor soil, you will have poor and slow growing plants. The type of nutrients include elements such as nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
The roots of plants draw in these nutrients, and if they are present in the soil, in the right amounts then you will grow healthy and high quality plants. Getting your soil ready in March is therefore a very important task to consider.
The UK Flower Garden in March
If there are hardy perennial herbaceous plants in your garden, now is the time to get them ready for the year. These should be dug up, including the roots, and at this stage these can then be replanted. Before doing that, remove any worn out centre parts. The tip here is to replant as quickly as possible. Never let them dry out.
Get Rid of Weeds
This is a good time to get rid of the early weeds in lawns, gardens and any type of flower beds. The most effective way is to dig those out. The alternative is to apply weed killer carefully. Something like a gel weed killer is easier to apply and control.
Although painstaking, I do prefer to dig these out as it is a more permanent solution. There is always a risk when using weed killer to kill off other plants in close proximity. There is of course also the risk to pets.
This month of March and early April is the best time to plant bulbs such as the lily, hyacinth and tulips. Plant these about 8" down and water them well for the best results. If you have young and sturdy plants, now is a good time to start planting those out. These include daisies, sweet williams, delphiniums and lupins. In case of frost, have the greenhouse ready to receive them.
Video - Tips on Planting Bulbs
This is a very good video on how to easily plant bulbs the right way.
March Garden Summary
As you can see there is plenty to be getting on with. This is the time, weather permitting, that I also like to do a general tidy up. That includes things like brushing paths, brushing down patios or decks, and also window sills and external pipes.
If the weather gets bad, I do head into the shed or garage and do some basic maintenance on the lawnmower and my other gardening tools. I am not talking about spending hours here, but maybe an hour on a Sunday afternoon, you can certainly get a lot done.