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.