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March

Starting with Potato Day, this is a busy month. As always, it’s time to do the jobs that didn’t get done last month.

Here’s what needs to be happening in the garden during March.

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.

Charles Dickens

Starting with Potato Day, this is a busy month. As always, it’s time to do the jobs that didn’t get done last month. Don’t be seduced by a mild spell into thinking that winter is over: here in the Borders, it isn’t. It could come back at any time and destroy your efforts.

  • Prune winter-flowering shrubs when flowering has finished. Cut out dead, crossing or damaged branches. Cut out one stem in three if a shrub has grown too large.
  • There is still time in early March to prune fruit trees before the buds start breaking into leaf.
  • Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for colourful stems in winter.
  • Plant hedging, fruit trees and bushes.
  • Mulch soft fruits with organic matter.
  • Lift and divide large clumps of perennial flowers.
  • Prepare areas for sowing seeds directly.
  • Sow hardy annual flower seeds under cover.
  • Prick out seedlings when their true leaves appear. Handle carefully to avoid damaging delicate stems and roots and grow them on in pots.
  • Start weeding. Hoe and mulch annual weeds. Dig out perennial weeds as soon as they appear: don’t add them to the compost heap unless the roots are completely dead.
  • Begin to force rhubarb.
  • Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes when the ground is workable unless the weather is very cold.
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