Sowing the Seeds for Summer
March brings some sunny days to tempt gardeners back into the garden and with the arrival of Spring, we can start preparing for the months ahead
March is the month for sowing seeds and getting the garden ready for the summer months, which includes a general tidy up and some essential pruning.
Pruning is not only therapeutic for plants, but gardeners as well – getting rid of all that dead wood and preparing for new growth and flowers. You need to remove dead, diseased or damaged stems from roses. Shrubs and climbers will also need pruning to encourage good, healthy growth.
Seed sowing should be at the top of your ‘to do’ list at the moment. Give seeds soil that is wet and warm enough and off they go, and the bigger the seed the deeper it needs to be in the soil to germinate. Some seeds can be sown direct into the ground, such as vegetables, whilst some prefer to be in seed trays and a slighter warmer environment to be given a good fighting chance.
March is also a good planting time for more mature plants, so think ahead to not just Summer but Autumn as well and try to plan your planting for all year round colour in the garden.
For a bit of instant colour you could think about a hanging basket. A simple garden solution for March is to create your own hanging basket in the colour scheme of your choice mixing hardy annuals with small evergreen shrubs for all year round interest. Although most baskets are planted in early spring and put outdoors after the risk of frost has passed, they can also be filled with frost hardy flowers and tough evergreens for colour over winter. Don’t forget to water regularly and boost growth with a weekly liquid feed.
A plant perfect for winter baskets and containers is Vinca, which is part of the periwinkle family. Vinca minor is also a favourite with gardeners for providing ground cover and can be planted in smaller beds and borders. It’s a great way of providing cover for poor, dry and slightly shady garden areas and its creeping and arching stems soon make an attractive carpet of bright green foliage. The small sky-blue flowers appear in spring and Vinca will grow in most soil types but like most other plants, requires good drainage.
With the arrival of spring work in the garden starts to get going. Here are some jobs you should be thinking about this month from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS):
• Protect new spring shoots from slugs
• Plant shallots, onions and early potatoes
• Plant summer flowering bulbs
• Lift and divide clumps of perennials
• Top dress containers with fresh compost
• Mow the lawn on dry days
• Cut back dogwood and willow grown for winter stems
• Hoe and mulch weeds to keep them under control early
• Start feeding fish and using the pond fountain
• Prune bush and climbing roses