March Easy-Gardening Tips
Spring clean the borders but above all make the most of mulching time!
"March is the month of expection" said the poet Emily Dickinson as we enjoy the vivid colours of daffodils and tulips, there is certainly much to look forward to in the garden as well as jobs to be done!
Probably one of the first tasks is to tackle your borders, removing any early weeds and dead-heading where necessary, before applying that all-important layer of mulch. It’s such a lovely word and really captures the wonderful enriching process that it will perform on all of your favourite plants. As well as conditioning the soil, spreading a mulch will also suppress weeds by denying them light plus it really helps to retain moisture as the soil starts to heat up from the sun.
Mulch comes in many different forms but can be basically grouped into biodegradable and non-bio-degradable. Generally, we would always recommend a biodegradable one as it is rich in organic matter and breaks down over time, adding plenty of nutrients to the soil. If you haven’t managed to make your own garden compost or leaf mould to use as a mulch, or indeed purloined some well-rotted manure from your local equestrians, you can always purchase bark mulch or wood chippings from most garden centres. Our favourite though is Strulch Organic Mulch, available at Crocus, which as well as being an attractive bio-degradable straw, even claims to keep slugs and snails at bay as they don’t like the texture. There are many opinions on the correct thickness for a mulch but the rule of thumb is don’t skimp below 5cm and even up to 8cm won’t do any harm. When mulching use a small fork or spade to carefully spread the matter around your plants, being careful not to cover growing perennials or swamp new seedlings.
After mulching, it might be an idea to have a quick pit stop with a cuppa before setting to work again, as there’s plenty more to do in March. We do hope the list below will help you to plan your gardening schedule and put a spring in your step this month as you enjoy the longer daylight hours outdoors!
MARCH TOP 10 CHECKLIST
Tidy borders and dead head spring flowers or any remaining winter plants if you don’t want them to seed
Prune roses if not already done in February, or you’re in a colder part of the UK
Sow your hardy annuals such as sunflowers, cornflowers, poppies and stocks
Create your own wildflower patch for bees and insects by sowing seeds on a patch of raked soil
Ramp up your summer-flowering bulb planting programme including lilies, gladioli & agapanthus
Plant bare-root rose bushes so they have a chance to grow their roots in the soil and become established before flowering
Cut back any remaining dead perennial twigs or grasses before feeding them through a shredder and adding to the compost heap
For long-standing plants in outdoor pots, remove the top layer of soil and replace with fresh compost for a nutrient boost
Rake or scarify the lawn to remove moss and dead vegetation before mowing on a high setting, and then towards the end of the month, give it a good nitrogen-based feed, ideally on a warm day after rain so the soil is damp but grass is dry