March 2022 Garden Tips

Garden notes for March 2022

It is a good time in March to increase your stock of perennials like delphiniums, pulmonarias, dahlias and chrysanthemums. The way to do it is to look for shoots of about 5cm long, take them as cuttings using a sharp knife to remove the shoot at root level. Pot them up individually in small pots using a mixture of 7 parts compost and 3 parts vermiculite. Put them in a cold frame, or an unheated greenhouse and they should root in about 10 days. Once they are rooted, repot in larger pots of compost (perhaps John Innes No.2). Remember to label them and if you have spare ones they would be very welcome for the Society to sell them at our Plant Sale in May to raise funds which have been rather depleted in the last two years because of the pandemic.

Snowdrops that have stopped blooming should be lifted and divided as soon as possible. Unlike other bulbs they should be multiplied whilst their leaves are still green. It is a good idea to do this at least once every 3 or 4 years as the bulbs may become too closely packed together to give a good show the following year if it is not done.

In order to give the best germination of any seeds that you want to start, make sure that the soil, or seed compost, you use is as warm as possible. So put out cloches over the area in the garden where you intend to start early crops. Do this at least a week or so before sowing in order to warm the ground. Equally, if you are using a seed compost, bring it in to a shed or greenhouse before making up the pots or seed trays so that it has been thoroughly warmed through. Most seeds need a soil temperature of at least 10ºC (50ºF), and do better if it is about 15ºC. This is a very general rule of thumb*, and there are many differences for different species, but it is true for a lot of the plants we grow.

Watch out for drying winds and sun days of March and try to get on the garden as soon as possible after that, because it is almost certain that rain will follow and you will not be able to do anything. It is all very well to give this advice for those who are able to follow the weather, but very difficult for the weekend gardener! Our clay is a very fertile medium if you can manage it properly. Over time the addition of humus from garden compost, farmyard manure and so on will help but it is a long term and continuing process.

Towards the middle or end of March, depending on the temperature, you should prune roses. If you want large blooms, prune severely, cutting all strong young growths back to 3 or 4 buds from where growth started last spring. For general garden purposes leave 5 or 6 buds. This allows for re-growth should any late frosts nip off the earliest growth.

Make sure that your garden mowing equipment is serviced and ready for use as the weather improves and the grass starts to get back to growing.

Sweet peas that have been growing in pots should be hardened off for planting out in April.

Dahlia tubers should be started off in gentle heat to get the shoots that will form the plants for growing on.

The Spring Flower Show will be held on Sunday 10th April in the Village Hall. The Schedule will be ready soon, so look out for your free copy at Capel News agency and Carters. Like the plants it will be emerging in March. Do have a go at one or more of the entries, it is good fun and you will be warmly welcomed.