March, the month of spring. Meteorological spring is already here. It’s the vernal equinox in a fortnight; British Summer Time soon. Late March sunset will be 7.30pm. Breathe. But be careful. This is the month the north-south divide shows. Keep an eye out for your local weather: it can be cruel.
It is still safest to stick with sowing indoors or under cover, though I would go for the hardier seedlings outside if you’re sheltered in the south. Broad beans, of course, leeks, lettuces, spinach, and early peas should all be fine where soil is starting to warm. If you’re concerned, wait a few weeks until nearing the end of the month. You have time on your side.
Salad mixes, oriental leaves, rocket and radishes should be good to be sown outside now under cloche or cold frame
Salad mixes, oriental leaves, rocket and radishes should be good to be sown outside now under cloche or cold frame. Start sowing some of the summer herbs, too: dill, parsley, chervil – though again, all safer under cover. Prune back the perennial herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme. Dig and divide mint and chives. It is your last chance to plant garlic while it is cold.
It’s time to finish preparing seed beds, to hoe and rake. You are looking for fine tilth, no stones or claggy clods. If in doubt, leave it a little longer for the soil to warm and dry.
I’d stick to organic fertilisers, plant or animal-based, whether seaweed (our go-to liquid feed) or horse, cow or chicken manure. We will top up with comfrey tea to help revive overwintering plants. You might need to water soon as plants begin to grow.
March is the month to start sowing summer: outdoor aubergines and tomatoes in trays in the heat at home; to plant out seed potatoes you’ve been chitting indoors. Remember, too, to start to thin out seedling trays. The gentle race is on for homegrown food and flowers.
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