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The garden in March, nine areas to watch over.

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: The garden in March, nine areas to watch over. Reply with quote

The garden in March, nine areas to watch over.
by GPI

Apply moss killer to blacken existing moss, followed by raking out and reseeding where required. In fact, while you are at it, repair and reseed all bare patches within the lawn e.g. goal mouths and beneath washing lines. In April, your lawn will benefit from an application of a 3-in-1 feed, weed and moss-killer or else a high-nitrogen feed.

Trim back any climbers where they have grown into eaves or around windows and doors. If you have winter-flowering jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), it will require trimming and tying back after its seasonal display. Tie in new shoots produced by climbing and rambling roses.

If your hedge is looking a bit scraggly, give it a trim now, to prevent disturbing any birds nesting within it later on.

Beds and borders.
You should have your roses pruned by now, if not, do so straight away by shortening shoots to an outward facing bud. Along with roses, there are many other shrubs requiring your pruning at this time of year. For example, Buddleia davidii, Leycesteria Formosa require cutting back hard to promote fresh flowering shoots.

If you haven't done so already, you should also cut back your dogwoods to encourage their coloured stems for next winter. Your winter/spring-flowering heathers that have served you well will soon finish flowering. Once the blooms turn brown, clip them off, taking care not to cut back into the old wood of the heather.

There's still time to lift and divide your herbaceous perennials, which may be overgrown.

Sprinkle a general-purpose tree and shrub fertiliser, around established plants, where possible, work this feed into the soil's surface.

Bulbs such as dahlia, gladioli, lilies, begonias and crocosmia can be planted now for summer colour, year after year. The seeds of scented summer sweet peas can also be sown outside where you wish them to flower.

. Sweet pea can be sown from seed now, photo / picture / image.

Beware of Slugs and snails.
Prevent these slime balls from damaging your new spring shoots and soft-leaved plants by using one of two methods ...
Next to the plants, scatter slug pellets beneath a flat stone resting on 3 or 4 rounded stones, this will keep the pellets away from nosey garden birds. Or if you are gardening organically, you could encircle your plants with natural materials that slugs hate to cross such as sharp grit, crushed eggshells or bran.

Beware of Frosts.
It is still possible to receive a frost that will damage Camellia blooms and the fresh leaves of Japanese maples. If such a frost is forecast, wrap these plants in horticultural fleece or an old blanket to preserve them.

Rock garden.
Clip back overgrown alpine plants, replacing any dead or damaged specimens as you go. Also, check for slugs and snails slyly sheltering beneath rockery plants foliage. Top up the areas gravel mulch where it has become sparse.

Vegetable and fruit area.
Spread a 2 to 3 inch deep mulch of homemade compost or well-rotted farmyard manure around your fruit trees/bushes. This will conserve much needed moisture and slowly feed this edible part of your garden. You may also apply some sulphate of potash to your fruit trees and bushes to increase the size of your crop (15g per sq m).

You still have some time to plant container-grown fruit trees and bushes.
Prepare your veg beds and plant out your onion sets and seedlings. While your at it don't forget the other members of the onion family namely shallots and garlic. Other vegetable you can start preparing for sowing are potatoes, broad beans, lettuce, parsnips, onions, peas, spinach, radish, turnips, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.

There are also many fruits/veg that you can now start within your polytunnel or glasshouse, for example, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, aubergines and melons. All of these indoor crops will flourish when sown in compost filled grow-bags, which are rich in nutrients.

Throughout the garden.
Treat your timber structures such as trellis and fencing with wood preservative.
Moss and algae should also be removed from paths, patios and steps for visual and safety aspects.

Lawn, path, border and vegetable weeds should be nipped in the bud now, so that you can enjoy a weed free and laid back summer. Choose your weed fighting weapon... hand, hoe or chemical herbicide, then let battle commence.

Any queries or comments on the garden in March, nine areas to watch over, please post below.

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