March is the month when most gardeners will venture out and start to fill their plots with all the seeds they have been hoarding up over the winter months. It’s an exciting time when we all look forward to the challenge of growing the crops and the joy of harvesting the fresh produce later in the season.
We invest a lot in terms of time, work and money in the hope of filling the freezer in the months to come, so it’s worth taking some time before starting to make proper preparations and not to start sowing before conditions are right. It also makes sense only to grow what you and your family like to eat, so when searching the catalogues, be strong: refrain from growing too many or too much of crops that are as yet untried by your taste buds. Having said that, trying new things does add to the excitement and offers a way to keep the hobby fresh, so treat yourself to just one or two novelties each spring and swap notes with gardening friends.
Above all enjoy the moment. Seed stowing it one of the most rewarding tasks we have to do and it comes mainly in the spring – a time full of promise for the season ahead. What could be better than an empty, newly raked patch of soil just waiting to be sown… apart from the same patch brimming with fresh produce to harvest, of course!
What To Grow: Making The Choice
Only grow what you know you will eat.
- If you have room, try a couple of novelties to ring the changes.
- Stick to things that thrive on your soil and in your location. A sneaky look at what your neighbours are growing might offer some clues.
- Make a note of the varieties you like the taste of so you can order them again. Try occasional new ones alongside those to see if you like them more.
- Only sow as many seeds of fast-growing crops as you know you can eat. Slower-growing maincrop vegetables can usually be stored in some way.
- If you intend to save seeds from your crops, try to choose open-pollinated (non F1) types.
Do it Now
There’s still time to plant bare root fruit trees and bushes before they start into development, but try and get them in the soil at soon as possible and water the roots if the earth is not wet.
In places that are mild sow some early varieties of carrots such as ‘Amsterdam Forcing’ or ‘Nantes 5’ exterior under a cloche or frame.
Finish pruning apples and pears this month before the growth and bloom buds begin to swell and open.
Have a sneaky look to tee what it happening, if you are driving rhubarb under pots. New shoots should be beginning to grow.
Fruit trees that have stakes on them to give support need checking to make sure the ties are firmly secured, but not too tight.