Sowing outside in March
- Sow parsnip seeds into a fine, firm seedbed. F1 Albion and F1 Gladiator does well and has excellent resistance to canker. If you have had difficulty getting these to germinate - wait until you see the weeds germinating. This will tell you that the soil is warm enough!
- Sow peas, mange tout and snap peas.
- Sow broad beans but hold back on French and runner/stick beans until things warm up.
- You can also sow carrots, radish, lettuce and many other vegetables.
- Sow cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, broccoli and other brassicas. Sow then in rows to transplant into final position when plants are big enough.
- If your soil is wet, then spread your weight by standing on boards. This will avoid compacting the soil. Of course, this is not an issue with raised beds.
- Sow parsley, dill, and chives outside or in cell pack modules.
- Directly sowing into cell pack modular trays is great for most vegetables but not so good for root crops. Root crops are best sown in situ.
- Only sow coriander and basil undercover, with a bit of heat. They are quite tender and need frost protection.
What to plant in March
- Early seed potatoes can now be planted in sheltered spots. Delay planting the main-crop varieties until the end of the month. Be ready to cover any new shoots that emerge if a frost is forecasted overnight.
- Plant onion sets out, deep enough so that the tops are just showing. Check onion sets regularly and replant if the birds pull any out.
Edibles in the greenhouse
- Hang up Agralan Yellow Sticky Whitefly pads in your conservatories and greenhouses. These are similar to fly papers and are harmless to humans. If you have introduced predators as natural pest control, you must take down these pads as they will catch them along with the pests!
- On warm days, open the ventilators but remember to close them again at night.
- Remove insulating bubble polythene from inside.
- Ensure that the glass is clean to allow maximum light in.
- You'll be able to sow them outside in six weeks.
The Fruit Garden
- Protect the early flowers on apricots, peaches and nectarines from frost. A sheet of polythene may suffice. Use a soft brush to pollinate blooms by hand.
- Scatter Growmore fertiliser and Sulphate of Potash around fruit roots. The rain will wash it in. This will help with fruit production.
- Apply mulch around newly planted trees but always keep a gap around the trunk. About 10-12 cms deep are ideal.
- Add mulch to all cane and fruit bushes too.
- If you missed out on autumn planting, plant strawberry runners now. The depth of planting is critical to getting this right. Too shallow or deep will reduce yield. Aim to get the thick swelling of the plant - the crown - only half-buried.
- Plant grape vines in the sunniest place that you have. Well-drained soil suits them best.