What to do in your garden in March

Broccoli (Organic) Seeds - Purple Sprouting Early from Suttons

Here’s a list of all the jobs to do in the garden this March so you’ll be ready to launch your beds, borders, and containers into action as soon as the weather is warm enough.

Now’s the time to get vegetable seeds started in the greenhouse, and you can sow hardy seeds straight outdoors into their final positions. It’s also time to kickstart your flower displays. Start sowing flower seeds undercover to enjoy colourful displays come summer.

Flowering plants in March

  • Cut back the stems of early spring-flowering bulbs after they’ve finished flowering, leaving the foliage to die back naturally.
  • Plant begonia tubers in pots of moist compost, concave side facing upwards. Keep the pots in a bright, warm situation, watering only when the compost dries out.
  • Plant dahlia tubers in trays of compost to encourage shoots and roots to start sprouting.
  • Lift and divide large clumps of perennials.
  • After flowering, but whilst still in leaf, lift and divide snowdrop bulbs. The clumps should be teased apart and the bulbs replanted at the same depth as they were before.
  • March is an ideal time to prune bush roses removing any damaged, dead or diseased stems. Stems should be cut back by about half, just above an outward facing bud, using clean, sharp secateurs.
  • Sow your favourite summer bedding plants this month.
  • Sow half-hardy annuals such as impatiens (busy lizzie), cosmos, gazania, petunia, lobelia and marigold in a heated greenhouse or indoors.
  • Provided soil conditions are not too cold and wet, make early sowings of hardy annuals outdoors. Directly sow anchusa, calendula, clarkia, larkspur and nigella out in the garden where you want them to flower.
  • Plant your sweet pea plugs out in sunny borders or pots, remembering to tie stems onto supports to encourage quicker climbing and flowering.
  • Plant anemone bulbs out into beds and borders this month.

Vegetables in March

Fruit in March

  • Make late plantings of soft fruit such as gooseberry and raspberries.
  • Plant strawberries in banked rows in beds now, or plant up containers.
  • Encourage long, tender stalks of rhubarb to grow by covering your crowns with old buckets to exclude any light.

Pots, baskets and containers in March

  • Overwintered tender fuchsias need tidying up this month. Bush or trailing fuchsias may have lost their leaves, clear these away just in case they are harbouring pests such as whitefly. Cut back any old/dead stems and when fresh growth appears, pot on into fresh compost and give your plants a feed.
  • Move pots with spring-flowering bulbs out into prominent positions in the garden to enjoy their blooms.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs like lilies into heavy bottomed decorative pots this month.
Vintage edging tool

Image: Shutterstock

March lawn care

  • Prepare new areas of ground for sowing grass seed in April. Dig perennial weeds out making sure you remove the roots. The site should be dug to a depth of 23cm (9″) and raked to obtain a level surface.
  • Make the first cut of the season on established lawns, just removing the leaf tips.
  • Where moss is a problem, apply lawn sand or use a moss killer.
  • Sow self-repairing lawn seed in worn areas of lawn or to cover bald patches.
  • Restore tidy lawn edges by using a sharp half-moon edging tool.

General March garden jobs

  • Cut back any dogwood or willow right down to the ground to encourage fresh new growth for next year’s display of bright winter stems.
  • Prepare flower beds ready for sowing hardy annuals during late March through into April.
  • Give a generous mulch of well-rotted compost around the base of roses, fruit trees, and shrubs.
  • Pot houseplants and ferns into slightly larger pots using fresh houseplant compost. Use this opportunity to give your houseplant leaves a clean and remove any dead or dying foliage.
  • Protect fruit tree blossoms on frosty nights using a cover. Remove the cover during the day to let insects access the blooms.
  • Clean paths, paving, patios, and steps with a pressure washer or chemical cleaner. Wash cloches and frames, inside and out, with hot soapy water to remove any build-up of dirt or algae.
  • If not already done, make sure garden tools and mowers are checked over and in good condition ready for the coming season.
  • Check over bird boxes and feeders for damage prior to fixing on a suitable tree or wall. Make sure your boxes and feeders are situated well away from cats.
  • Prepare a couple of raised beds for early seed sowings. Cloches or portable polythene tunnels are great for trapping heat in the soil of your raised bed, as well as protecting the young seedlings. Crops such as beetroot, carrots, parsnip, radish and spring onions are all great choices.
  • Warm soil in your vegetable garden beds by covering the surface with black sheeting. The black absorbs the rays of the sun and warms the soil below.
Feeding fish pond

Image: Shutterstock

March pond care

  • Put your fountains and features back into the pond when risk of frost passes in your area.
  • Allow the oxygenating plants in your pond to repress the algae levels, or add a natural deterrent like a barley straw bag to the water.
  • As milder weather arrives, start feeding your pond fish regularly.
  • Now is the time to remove pond heaters so that they can be cleaned and put away for use next winter.
  • Clear away any winter debris from around the pond and use a net to scoop out leaves that may have fallen into the water.
Lead image: Purple Sprouting Broccoli from Suttons
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