March's gardening checklist
Spring has officially begun and, as your garden is beginning to wake up after its rest through the colder months, you now need to start spending time in your outdoor space whenever the weather permits.
Now that March is here, it’s time to prepare your garden for summer – doing the preparation now will save you time throughout the rest of the year, so bundle up warm and get outside.
Tools & materials required
March Monthly Checklist
Tools you might need:
Focus on your lawn
First things first – tidy up any uneven edging. It makes maintenance easier and will immediately make your lawn look better.
After not mowing all winter, it’s now time to give your lawn a cut – be sure that it’s not too waterlogged or you’ll churn it into a muddy mess.
Wait for the soil to dry before mowing the lawn. Set the cutting blades high so it’s left longer than it would be in the summer. You can then cut it shorter as the weather gets warmer.
March is also the time to replace your lawn – get it done by the end of the month so that it has time to bed in before the summer.
If your lawn’s looking tired and you just want to spruce it up and not replace it, you can apply fertiliser. However if there’s a lot of frost wait until it’s a little warmer else any growth will be lost.
It’s time to cut back all the plants that have been left over the winter. Trees, climbers, hedges, and roses will all need to be cut back and tidied. But for now, focus on the tougher plants. Soft shrubs such as lavender or sage will need to be left for a few weeks yet, as any frosts that occur after they’ve been pruned will damage them.
If you have apple or pear trees, they’ll need to be pruned too. You need to make sure you do this before the buds begin to grow. This will help it to fruit.
Tidy and feed your beds and borders
Before planting anything new, tidy up any perennials by removing any foliage that’s brown, which will allow the new foliage space to grow.
Be sure to remove any weeds you find – perennial weeds will need to be treated with a weed killer. Once you’ve done that, your beds can be prepared for the coming season. Give them a good soak, sprinkle with some multi-purpose fertiliser and fork into the topsoil.
Now’s the best time to make sure that your paths and furniture are looking good – give them both a good clean with a pressure washer.
Remove all weeds and moss on your patios and drives before washing. And when it comes to your furniture, check whether it would benefit from being painted or treated after cleaning to make sure it looks great for the warmer weather.
Other areas that’ll need a clean include your greenhouses and ponds - be sure to remove any dead growth and weeds. Clean your pond's filters and pumps, or replace if worn out or not working correctly.
Sow flower seeds
Now’s the time to start sowing hardy annual seeds like sunflowers and poppies (pictured), or any wildflowers that will bloom in the summer. These flowers are easy to grow, and are an ideal way to fill your beds or containers with colour without having to break the bank. They withstand the cold and so can be grown outside, straight from seed.
They are particularly happy in sandy soil but, wherever you grow them, we recommend doing so in well-drained earth.
Vegetables and herbs you can grow now include:
Please check individual packaging to see if they need to start growing inside before being transferred outdoors.
Once your beds have been weeded and had fertiliser added, rake the surface down, leaving a seedbed the texture of cake crumbs.
Now you are ready to plant, don’t be tempted to fill up the vegetable garden all at once. There are only a few things you can sow or plant this early in spring and if the weather is still chilly you will need to cover early crops with some horticultural fleece for protection.
Plant onions and shallots
In addition to the list above, onions and shallots are two other vegetables that can be planted in March. They can be a bit tricky to grow from seed, so opt for planting onion or shallot sets - these are like half grown baby veggies that are in a dormant state. Shallot sets grow into a clump of several shallots instead of just one, so they should be spaced out a bit more than onions.
A vegetable but treated like a fruit, rhubarb is a versatile favourite - perfect for sweet crumbles, pies and more. And while there’s not much fruit that you can grow in the ground this time of year, rhubarb is one of the few that can be planted now for harvesting throughout the summer. If you do have pot-grown fruit in your greenhouse, make sure it’s well watered.