In your Garden this March
March is officially the beginning of Autumn, so take advantage of the still fine weather by planting your seedlings or seeds for your winter crops. Autumn’s milder weather gives them a chance to become hardened before the colder weather arrives.
Things to do in your Vegetable Garden
- Watch your tomatoes, rain can split the ripening fruit – harvest and ripen inside or make green tomato chutney.
- Lift the rest of your potatoes, you can leave them on top of the soil for a few hours to dry in the sun, but don’t leave them out overnight, use any damaged potatoes straight away.
- Finish harvesting the last of your summer crops. As space become available fill with winter vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, onion, and spinach. Make sure you remove all traces of the previous season plants; don’t leave stumps in the ground they will harbor pests and diseases. See Garden Doctor.
- Putting a little effort in to working the garden in autumn will pay off during the winter season, the main consideration is for the soil – working with wet soils especially walking over it can compact the soil, spoiling the structure. If you need to dig over the garden or make any major changes, do it during the relative dry of autumn. Check out our range of digging tools here.
- If your homemade compost is ready, incorporate it in to the soil a few weeks before you plant, it is too rich when fresh fromthe compost bin, and it will burn your plants. Compost is ready when it has the consistency of lumpy potting mix and it can be broken easily with a fork.
- Add blood and bone through the top layer of the soil before you plant your new crops.
Broadbeans can be planted now in cooler areas, warmer areas leave till early April. The seeds are large enough to be planted straight in to the ground. Stagger your sowings for a continual supply, sow at two weeks intervals. Feed with McGregor’s FruitMAX - this has a lower rate of nitrogen to encourage more flowers than leaves. Once they are growing and showing a lot of flowers, pinch out the growing tip to encourage the flowers to set the beans and encourage the plant to produce more growing tips.
See our How to grow Broad Beans here >>
If you are planting Cabbage or something similar from the Brassica family (Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) ensure that you:
- Keep in a well drained position
- Plant them in a sweet soil - add lime to the soil as you dig through some compost.
- The White Butterfly is the biggest pest threat to the Brassica family; dust your plants with McGregor’s Derris Dust. Apply in the morning when the plants are wet with dew as this will this hold it to the plant. See more about White Butterfly here >>
Tending to your Flowers and Shrubs
Shady areas can be a difficult; testing your patience and the budget, here are a few tricks to help increase your chance of success.
- Determine the degree of shade; this will guide you to make better plant choices.
- Full Shade –receives no direct sunlight, the shade can be cast from tree or the walls of a fence or house.
- Dappled Shade – will receive sun during the day filtered through foliage.
- Part Shade –will only receive shade for part of the day, sun for the rest of the day.
- Shady area need water to, in those hottest times of the year don’t forget to water occasionally.
- Use pots or sculptures to add colour, height, hide or detract from a difficult area.
- If it one plant works then plant more of the same. When your plant choices are limited or the area is large then plant in mass.
- Choose flowers in lighter colours: white, light blue and pink will brighten the area.
Looking after that Lawn
As the weather cools and there is more rain your lawn will come back to life - help it along with an application of lawn fertiliser. Always use lawn fertilisers as they are blended with a higher rate of nitrogen necessary for green growth. Lawn fertilisers often contain iron for the suppression of moss, so take care when applying especially around paths and patios as the iron can stain concrete, paving stones and tiles – read the caution section on the packet. Apply the fertiliser evenly; fertiliser left in lumps can burn the grass, water after it is applied to ensure you get it in.
Team McGregor Money Saver Tip
Citrus Fertiliser isn’t just for your citrus tree it can also be used to feed Passionfruit and Hibiscus shrubs.