March is the month when the long-awaited Spring arrives and when the pace of your gardening increases quite dramatically. At last we can get outside to start work again which is just as well, as there is a lot to do!
Deadhead and prune
Deadhead any early spring bulbs but don’t chop back the leaves for at least six weeks after flowering, to ensure the bulbs have re-absorbed all that energy from the leaves to give you a good display next year.
You can also hard-prune bush roses back to about 30cm, removing any dead or diseased wood and cutting back to an outward-facing bud.
Weed and mulch
Remove weeds, then mulch beds and borders with shredded bark or compost to help prevent the weeds returning and mulch around newly planted trees or shrubs.
It should be able to start mowing your lawn this month too, this will immediately tidy up your garden by removing all debris and leaves off the grass and smarten everything up ready for Spring. Try not to cut the grass too tight this month, it is best to leave the grass a little longer than normal for the first few cuts of the year.
Re-seed any worn patches of grass and repair any edges which may have crumbled over the Winter months.
Sowing and planting
March is generally the last recommended time to plant bare-root trees, shrubs and roses until November.
The most important task in March is probably sowing. Sow celery, courgettes, tomatoes and cucumbers on the windowsill or greenhouse for planting out once the danger of frost has passed.
You can also plant out the Autumn-sown Sweet Peas and sow more seed to provide a fragrant display later in the year.
Plant herbs in windowsill trays and plant any early potatoes, onion sets and asparagus. When the weather is a little warmer at the end of the month, sow onions, parsnips and the first carrots, turnips, beetroots in the open soil under cloches and salad leaves in the greenhouse.
Now is also the time to plant those summer-flowering lilies in a hole three to four times their bulb height and to sow hardy annuals to fill gaps in flowerbeds and borders.
Dig up and divide larger clumps of snowdrops and any other perennials you didn’t have time to divide in the Autumn.
Ponds and water plant
On a mild day, drain two thirds of the water from your pond and replace with fresh water. Remove any Algae which may have formed and clear off any old foliage from marginal plants.
Replace the top half of compost in planters and containers and top-dress with slow-release fertiliser.
Finish off any digging of vegetable plots or flowerbeds and weedkill those paths and driveways while the weeds are small.
Give your houseplants a little more watering as the days lengthen feed with a liquid fertiliser to encourage the new growth.
While you are working in your garden you will hear the wonderful sound of the Spring birdsong and see lots of activity as the birds search for partners and suitable nesting sites, If the weather turns cold again, please remember to keep filling your birdfeeders to give them the best start to the nesting season.
These tips were kindly contributed by local resident Cara MacColl