Although the weather during March can be variable, the soil will start to warm up as the days get longer. Where we have sunny days it may be possible to prepare the ground for planting or sowing later in the month. Weeds will also start to appear more during March, so hoeing is an essential activity to suppress weeds before they take hold. Mulching can also be done around any plants that emerge.
- Raise the soil pH by adding lime to brassica beds. This will help prevent club root and encourage growth.
- Sow outdoors early cultivars of beetroot, broad beans, peas, early cultivars of lettuce, radish, early spinach, parsnips and turnips.
- Towards the end of the month early varieties of carrot can be sown.
- Sow indoors or in the greenhouse Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, celeriac, early leeks and tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, peppers and chillies
- Start herbs from seed. Sow dill, fennel, parsley and sorrel in plots to transplant later.
- Watch out for signs of damping off in seedlings and be careful not to overwater.
- Prepare trenches for runner beans with well-rotted manure and shredded paper at the base.
- By the end of March, if the weather is warming, plant first early potatoes when the shoots are 2cms long
- By the end of the month direct plant shallots and onion sets.
- Plant asparagus crowns
- Protect new spring shoots from slugs
- Feed cabbages and other brassicas with pelleted chicken manure or other nitrogen-rich fertiliser.
- Buy trays of young plants if you don’t have the time or space to grow from seed.
- Prune blueberries.
- Pick rhubarb tender shoots as required.
- Feed fruit trees and bushes, including cherries and plums.
- March is the last month for planting bare-root fruit trees and bushes.
- Plant out any remaining bare-root strawberry runners,
- Many annuals can be sown towards the end of the month
- Candytuft is an easy an attractive plant for children to sow from seed
- Prepare seed beds in readiness for sowing seed later in the month
- Hoe weeds as they appear
- Cover soil with cloches, fleece or a thick layer of manure to warm the soil.
- Top- dress overwintering vegetables with a general fertilizer.
- Apply a general fertilizer to all areas required for early crops
- Clean polytunnel sides and/or greenhouse panes to maximise light levels.
- Compost heap can be sorted now to provide compost for spring planting
Gardening for wildlife
- Look out for birds nesting in nest boxes around the allotment
- Keep on the lookout for slowworms and other wildlife on your plot