Garden and allotment jobs in March!

Garden and allotment jobs in March!

Welcome to March!

On the allotment:

Now is a good time to chit your potatoes as soon as you get them!  As the weather is starting to get warmer, it’s a good time to get your first early in.  I’ve been on my allotment today and planted 2 and a half rows of first early after an hour digging and preparing the ground to ensure its weed free.

Get your seeds out and start sowing in your greenhouse.

Broad beans, runner beans, this will give a good head start when planting outside tomatoes (different varieties will give you more options for use i.e. salads, cooking), cucumbers, also peppers, peas, with peas I like to sow at least 5 weeks apart.

Normally I will sow 40 seeds at a time for 3 times, and when sowing your seeds please don’t be afraid to plant more than you need you can always pick the best plant and compost what you don’t need, or give them away.

When sowing outside and governed by the weather, don’t rush.Waiting a week or more to ensure you have frost free mornings will pay dividends in the long run.  Barring freak snowstorms!

This takes a lot of time to prepare a bed for your asparagus crown, saying that, it’s worth it to get the full flavour you get when you pick your own!

Soft fruits, this will be the last chance to prune soft fruit such as red and white currants, and gooseberries.  If you have not done this, cut back around your newly planted raspberries to about 1 foot in height.

Once all the pruning has been done, give them some good mulch such as rotten farmyard manure, not mushroom compost as this will be too alkaline for these bushes.

For blackcurrants, make sure to give them high-nitrogen feed for best results.

In the garden:

Weeds, start weeding now!  This will make it easy for you later in the year.  The more you do now, the less you will have to do later.

As the ground gets warmer, think about where you want to put your summer bulbs for colour heights, also variety, prepare the ground ready for planting.  If you are going to plant anemone coronaria tubers these need well drained soil as with all bulbs this will stop them rotting in winter when the ground is wet.

Propagate more dahlias from tubers.  Pot them up in a multi-purpose compost so that the old stalk is just above the surface.  Water and place in a warm, light position or in a propagator.  Once the fresh shoots have grown to 7.5-10cm (3-4in), cut them off carefully with a knife.  Dust the ends with hormone rooting powder and push them into a pot containing cuttings compost.  Place back in a propagator or plastic bag until roots appear.

Perennials that are showing new shoots from the crown can be propagated via basel stem cuttings.  Shoots 7.5-10cm (3-4in) high are cut from the parent plant with a sharp knife.  Sometimes a piece of root can be taken with the cutting (which speeds establishment), but stems can be cut without root, and then dipped in hormone rooting powder before striking into growing medium, as for softwood cuttings.

Deadhead the flowers of Narcissus (daffodils) as they fade, but allow the foliage to die down naturally.

Herbaceous perennials infested with couch grass and other perennial weeds should be lifted so the roots of the weeds can be removed.  Improve the soil by digging in organic matter before replanting.

Improve the drainage of heavy soils by working in lots of organic matter.

Perennials putting on plenty of growth may need support by the end of the month.

Check whether containers needs watering.  Even at this time of year, they can dry out.Pots that are sheltered by eaves or balconies can miss out on any rainfall.If in doubt, check the compost at a hands depth to see if it feels dry.  Aim to keep pots moist, not wet, and don’t let them dry out!

That’s all for now, time to check my allotment, have a great March and enjoy my favourite time of year!