Peter’s Gardening tips for March 2017
When will Spring properly ‘Spring?!’
It appears elusive at the moment but the signs are there…. snowdrops almost finished, daffodils popping up and showing colour, a few primroses, occasional Queen bumble bees, the odd butterfly on a warm day, and the birds pairing up looking for nesting sites and the start of the dawn chorus when the weather allows! Frost, snow, hail, rain, gales and a bit of sunshine it is the ‘fickle’ month of March.
My own garden and many of my customers are looking a mess after Storm Doris. A Spring tine rake works wonders flicking out the twiggy bits off the lawns and borders. If the ground or lawn is squelchy keep off it! Wait until it dries out.
At the of the end of Summer 2016 I took on an allotment after a few years of waiting, over the coming months I will keep you abreast of what is going on. My own garden is not big enough to grow much veg, only in pots or grow bags and as the children get older they need more room to play. The allotment will be educational for them and us too.
Firstly, we had the weeds to sort out at the end of last Summer, it was full of couch grass and bindweed, so I’m afraid I did reach for the Glyphosate or Roundup weed killer. This was applied and allowed to work for 3-4 weeks before I attacked the ground with the rotorvator – having checked that the roots of the couch and bindweed were dead. I added all the spent compost I had from sweet pea pots, potatoes, containers, split bags of compost etc to the surface before rotorvating roughly to a depth of 10 inches. This was left rough for the Winter frosts to help break it up.
We have already been busy and planted up the Garlic bulbs with the children working off scaffold boards. I have also bought some open ground Cordon /Fan apples, plum, peach, nectarine, raspberries and recycled some strawberries and asparagus crowns from friends. These have all been healed in (planted roughly in a temporary spot covering the roots with soil and firming the soil down with the heel of your boot!). I now wait for the ground to dry out to plant these fruit trees and bushes in their final planting positions – this needs to be done by the end of March.
Jobs to do and some I have been tackling:
- Walk the garden with the pen and paper, record and photograph where possible what has been happening after the Winter months, this may help if you want to split snowdrops etc and re-site.
- Damage to shed roof, trellis, loose climber with broken stems, moss to control in the lawn, algae on the path?
- State of the lawn? First cut with the blades set high.
- Prune roses, apples, pears and wisteria.
- Herbaceous plants to dig up and split.
- Planting of roses, fruit trees and bushes.
- Rake up twigs, leaves and detritus.
- Clean bird baths and feeding stations.
- Put up or clean out nest boxes for the birds.
- Tickle over borders with a border fork – Rootle or Firkle!
- Mulch herbaceous plants and roses.
- Set about weeding – they pull out of the ground very easily when the ground is wet and after frost in the ground.
- Start sowing indoors – tomatoes, peas, broad beans, sweet peas, peppers, aubergines, some will need a heated propagator or a minimum temperature of 16 – 21ºC to germinate – check packets for timing of seed sowing and temps, some require constant night and day heat?
- Buy your seed potatoes, shallots, onion sets and seeds.
- Check all machinery, book a service and sharpening and a good old clean up, wire brush and oily rag.
I know the weather is frustrating a lot of gardeners wanting to get on with seed sowing and ground preparation. We’ve just got to wait! Seeds won’t germinate in cold wet soil!
I am very happy to answer your gardening queries as usual.
Lots of new gardening products to talk about soon!
Enjoy the big outdoors whatever the weather and armchair gardening!!!
RHS Spring Plant Fairs at RHS Gardens near you this month. Go to RHS website for details.
P.S I am happy to answer any of your gardening questions too, so feel free to leave them below and I will do my best to reply!
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