March Gardening Advice
March Gardening Advice
Many of the ‘classic’ summer vegetables are now coming to their end. Harvest the last crops of aubergines, beans, beetroot, courgettes, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, and pumpkin. There is still time to plant rapid maturing vegetables like lettuce, radishes, and dwarf beans. Begin preparing your winter garden by removing any dead or infected plants and weeds. Don’t leave diseased plants on the property or they may reinfect your winter crops. Break up hard, compacted soil and add plenty of fresh compost. Towards the end of the month, start planting the first winter maturing vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. Remember to rotate areas of your vegetable garden to ensure the same vegetables are not planted in the same positions every year.
The most robust summer flowering annuals such as zinnias will be in full flower, while others may be struggling after the long summer. Where possible keep plants well-watered to extend the flowering season, and deadhead (remove) old flowers regularly. It is still too early to plant winter annuals, so prepare the beds in the same manner as winter vegetable plots.
An excellent month for planting new bulbs! Choose a full-sun position and soil that is well-drained. Prepare the area thoroughly by breaking up the soil and adding fresh compost and Daltons Premium Bulb Mix before planting the new bulbs. Check labels for the correct depth of planting. New bulbs could include, anemones, crocus, daffodils, freesias, hyacinth, iris, lachenalias, nerines, ranunculus, tulips, and watsonias. Remember to add a marker so you remember where and what you planted!
On citrus trees, especially mandarins, lemons and oranges, young fruit are forming and require regular watering to prevent fruit fall and encourage the development of juicy fruit. Mulching significantly helps in the retention of water and eventually improves the soil around the fruit trees.
As plants in the garden struggle with exceptionally dry conditions, houseplants are within our reach and their environment can be more easily controlled. It is important to regulate the temperature in your home, especially those that are locked up all day. Some houseplants will need to be repositioned depending on the season, for instance, those growing near north-facing windows can be exposed to very hot daytime temperatures. Watering needs to be carefully monitored, remembering that not all houseplants require the same amount of water. Daltons Premium Houseplant Fertiliser Tabs can be safely applied where houseplants are still in active growth.
Even though strawberries have finished fruiting, it is time to think about next season's strawberries. Existing plants will be sending ‘runners’ in all directions, these are the future fruiting plants. While May is the traditional month for planting young strawberry plants, cut the runners off the ‘mother plants’ now and temporarily plant them in the garden soil or pots, awaiting permanent planting into newly prepared strawberry patches or containers in May.
Thin out excessive cane growth and tie the current season’s strongest canes to support wires or structures. These will produce next season’s fruit.
With many rose varieties, March and April provide what can be termed as the ‘second flush of flowers.’ Where roses have been cared for over summer, many will start flowering profusely again at this time of the year. As temperatures cool towards the end of the month apply a light side dressing of rose fertiliser to all the roses.
In the Herb Garden
Some herbs will start flowering in March, remove the flowers to encourage the development of ‘leafy growth’.