The sun’s out for longer, the ground is warming up, but don’t be fooled by these warmer days, the risk of frost is still high, and nights can be deceptively cold. There’s still work to do indoors and in the shed, and there will be plenty of opportunities for working comfortably outdoors.
March is the perfect time to plant wildflower seeds - perhaps use 2022 as an opportunity to re-wild a small part of your allotment and garden. And don’t forget the Queen’s Platinum jubilee - plant a small fruit tree on your allotment and perhaps something larger in your garden if you have one.
Bird nesting season has started so check for any nesting activity before you start any late pruning - or leave until the autumn if you can. Birds nest in areas of thick ivy, brambles, hedges as well as trees - with the robin even enjoying the luxury of an allotment shed!
Check over bird boxes for damage, fix new ones prior to fa suitable tree or wall away from predators.
Start of the growing season
Continue to sort out the vegetable beds; add well rotted manure, remove any perennial weeds, and get that
hoe out on any early annual weeds
Use cloches to warm soil for early sowings of broad beans, carrots and parsnips
If you’re lucky enough to have one, weed and mulch asparagus beds. Asparagus has shallow roots so weed by hand to prevent damage. They are also hungry feeders so be generous with the mulch!
Chit seed potatoes in an egg carton on a windowsill to give them a head start. First earlies can be planted out in Mid-March.
Later in the month sow carrots, beetroot, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and spinach directly outdoors under cloches or in pre-warmed soil.
Sow aubergine, cucumber and tomatoes along with other tender vegetables in a heated greenhouse, propagator or sunny windowsill
Plant spring onions and onion sets this month, spacing at 15cm (6”) intervals and rows 30cm (12”) apart.
Encourage the strong growth of chives by dividing the clumps, trim back sage to encourage new growth.
Keep harvesting kale and purple sprouting broccoli through early spring
Use any forced rhubarb, be careful to mulch the rhubarb, not on the crown otherwise the stalks will suffer from mould and the crown is at risk of rotting.
Protect the blossoms of early bloomers, such as apricots and peaches, from frost with horticultural fleece
Weed and mulch around fruit trees with well-rotted manure or compost, Take care not to mound mulch up around the trunk.
Cover strawberries with a cloche to encourage earlier fruiting. But remember to leave the uncovered as soon as flowers appear so that the bees and other pollinators can do their work!
It’s the last chance for planting soft fruit such as gooseberries and raspberries if you want fruit this season.
In the garden:
March is the final month for planting bare-root trees and shrubs, pot grown plants can be planted anytime.
If you have a lawn, March will probably be the first cut of the year, mid-month is a good time to do a lawn feed and weed. Hold off scarifying until April.
Cut back dead vegetation on herbaceous perennials.
Prune Mop and Lace cap hydrangeas, and roses.
Enjoy your spring flowering bulbs!