March in the Garden
‘In like a lion and out like a lamb’ is a very old saying but the start of March 2018 has certainly roared. Your patience is going to be tested over the next few weeks. With ever lengthening days plants want to get growing but the ground needs to be right for success. So don’t panic, holding back now will give the best conditions for plants to grow and ‘catch up’in a few weeks. So my February advice of think before you sow is just a relevant to March.
Set up cloches or move them to prepare then next bit of ground. If you are exposing any of your February plantings you can use fleece (simple wire hoops will keep it up off your plants and soil) and uncover them during the day. If you have already sown Broad Beans and peas there is nothing to stop you sowing a second batch to follow on. For speedy crops consider baby leaves sown under cloches (on a windowsill or in a greenhouse) and a range of leafy greens such as mitsuba, mustard leaves, namenia and winter purslane – all of these will help give you fresh greens as your supply of over wintered veg gradually fades away. Have a good look at our March Sowing Guide and select the things that you like to eat – there is no point getting wet, cold or muddy in the garden if you are not going to like what you grow!
Of course there is always one group of plants growing in the garden despite the weather – weeds. And they are weeds because they are very successful at colonising spaces and are not valuable to us for eating or looking at. If your soil conditions allow you then hoe. And keep hoeing to cut them down and kill them before they get established. In fact hoeing is better than digging for weeds – it is easier on your back (with the right sized hoe) and it is all too easy to turn the soil over with a fork or spade and end up ‘planting’ the weeds, it doesn’t disturb the roots of the vegetables you are trying to get established and you will not be tramping on every inch of soil and squashing it down.
A few other jobs you can look at undertaking are lifting, splitting and replanting chives and welsh onions to give them more space to develop. You might be able to take a first cut of comfrey this month to put in your bean trenches. If you plan to grow tomatoes outdoors then you can make a tomato trench and put some of the comfrey in there too. And if you don’t have comfrey buy seeds now as you can sow this very useful plant between March and May!