The garden is starting to awake now from its winter slumber. March brings in more hours of light as the days lengthen and better temperatures will start to warm the soil up. So as the garden starts its growth for 2018, I’m afraid this gives us a whole new list of jobs, so here’s a few to think about.
– Frost protection. March is known to “come in like a lion and go out like a lamb”. This is quite true, as by the end of March we are usually getting the warmer temperatures. But don’t let this fool you. The soft new growth can easily be hit by a hard frost this month, so observe the forecast and be ready to put some protection over that young growth.
– The lawn. The grass will grow away this month and you will definitely need to cut it more often. Keep the mower at the winter height of cut for now, perhaps lowering nearer April.
– Compost heaps. I know, I’m going on about composting again, but I make no apology. Organic matter is the best for any garden soil and starting on your heap now will give you better compost next winter.
– Splitting herbaceous. Now is a good time to split some of those herbaceous plants. Making two, three or four plants out of one, can save you money and even help making friends by giving clumps to a neighbour. Dig a clump up out of the ground and then put two forks back to back. Gently tease the clump apart by pulling in either direction with the forks. I’m doing some Acanthus and Achillea this way, they’re good for the bees.
– Sowing seeds. Now’s the time to be sowing, if you haven’t started already. Plan that allotment or summer bedding scheme. Don’t do everything in one go, or you might have to prick everything out at one time. Space your seed sowing according to the instructions.
– Mulch your borders. Again, something else I always go on about doing around the garden and again no apology. Do it now while the ground is still nice and moist.
I still seem to be giving jobs, so let’s talk about what can be enjoyed during this month.
The flowers will really start to show here in Cornwall. Camellias have not at all finished yet, the Rhododendrons are beginning to flower and the Cherry trees are making an appearance. Winter is being well and truly waved goodbye.
There’s a lot more activity with the wildlife in your garden now. Birds are starting to nest and the other animals that slept through the winter are out looking for food.
One of these would be the hedgehog. The hedgehog has been in the news recently, as it is on the decline. In the 1950s it was believed there were thirty million of our slug eating friends, it is now believed there are less than one million. Yet another frightening decline in our native wildlife.
Encourage little hedgehogs into the garden, they do eat worms but also eat large amounts of slugs and snails. To help them, be easy on the slug pellets and leave them bowls of cat food. Don’t give them bread and milk it upsets their tummies.
We might not be able to save the world with our gardens, but we all need to do something. When my children get older I would like them to know why the hedgehog crossed the road.
Lots to do and sorry for all the jobs.
Enjoy your gardening.