March

General Maintenance

  • Remove frames or cloches from outdoor early sowings in warmer weather but replace at night as the temperature can still fall rapidly.
  • Keep on top of any germinating weeds, as they can soon over run the beds as it gets warmer.
  • As over wintering veg comes to an end clear away the remains and prepare beds for the next sowing or planting.

Vegetables

  • Plant early, second early and main crop potatoes that were chitted in the last two months.
  • sow early varieties of Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower and Calabrese in a prepared seed bed, for transplanting late next month.
    Be prepared to cover with cloches or garden fleece if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
  • Sow second early Peas and main crop Broad beans.
  • Plant Onion sets, Garlic and Shallots.
  • Salad crops such as Lettuce, Spring Onions Radish and Rocket can be sown now if a little protection can be given.
  • Sow early Carrots, Beetroot, Turnips and Parsnips.

Fruit

  • March is probably the latest month to do the winter pruning of soft fruit, before the plants come into full growth.
  • Keep on top of weeds around the plants, give a dressing of Potash to help fruiting and mulch with well rotted manure after prolonged rain.
  • Tie in new growth before it gets into a tangle.
  • Forced Rhubarb should be ready to harvest.

Greenhouse

  • Most seeds can be sown in the greenhouse by the middle of this month, remembering that they will need hardening off before planting out.
  • Plants that are to grow and crop in the greenhouse such as Tomatoes, Aubergines and Peppers (sweet and chile) can be sow if the weather is playing fair or a little heat can be given.
    Cucumbers and Melons are best left until next month unless the greenhouse can be heated.
  • Seeds that can be sown in trays and covered with a propagator lid for pricking out into small pots or seed tray cells include: early and summer cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Calabrese, Celery, Leeks, main crop Onions and Lettuce.
  • If the weather has not allowed for sowing outside, crops that either dislike pricking out or root disturbance can be sow in small pots or seed tray cells that sit inside a standard tray, (usually in sizes of 15, 24, 40 or 60)
    This way allows for an early sowing but takes up a large amount of room and the plants will need hardening off before they are planted out.
  • Salad onions can be sown by sprinkling a few seeds per pot or cell and growing on until the roots are about to fill the cell, then planted outside when the weather is more accommodating.
  • Beetroot and Turnip can also be sown into cells and planted later, but will need thinning out as they grow, down too one or two plants per pot or cell.Don’t forget to harden them off before they are planted out
  • Peas can be sown in pots or cells, three or four seeds to a three inch pot and planted out after hardening off.
  • Parsnips can be germinated in the greenhouse with care. Using a grow tube or cardboard tube standing on its end to accommodate the long taproot.
    Group the tubes in a tray to hold each other upright and sow two or three seed per tube.
    Thin down to one seedling per tube after germination and time the planting out before the tap root gets to the to the bottom of the tube.
    Using grow tubes or cardboard allows you to plant the whole thing thus not disturbing the roots, these will rot down as the plant grows.
  • High temperatures in the day and cold nights make watering plants and seedlings in the greenhouse at this time of year some what of an art on its own.
    Plants and seedlings do not like standing in cold wet compost. This is the main cause of damping off and a host of other diseases.
    Water sparingly and in the first half of the day if possible. Don’t water over the foliage, aim to water the compost surface of each tray or pot as and when they need it.