This gardening calendar for March has been put together by Mantis. We’d like to share our expertise with our customers, advising proactive jobs gardeners can carry out in March. It’s spring and there is plenty of gardening to be done — though make sure you wrap up warm!
Lawn Care in March
On a fine day, mow lawn on a high setting, rake and feed — Don’t be tempted to cut the grass too short as this is not good for the lawn and will encourage the growth of moss.
March is a good time to lay turf or prepare ground for seeding. The warmer, damp conditions are ideal for grass root growth. This will then lead to a healthier, more resilient lawn in the summer.
Apply moss killer to the lawns — don’t forget to rake out the blackened moss once it has died off. Bare patches can be treated by seeding or laying turf.
Define lawn edges — A nice tidy edge to a lawn is always a great finishing touch to a garden and this can be achieved beautifully by using the Mantis Lawn Border/Edger attachment for the Mantis Tiller.
Clean your paths and patios with a high pressure jet washer. High pressure jet washers are usually sufficient for cleaning patios and pathways, although you can use plant/animal friendly chemicals, a hose pipe and a stiff brush, which is just as effective.
Garden Care in March
Weed/Clear Flower beds — to get soil ready for planting, ensuring a clean weed-free environment for new plants and bulbs. The Weeder setting on your Mantis Tiller is ideal for this.
Rake over seed beds — regular raking ensures a good, open texture to the soil, allowing it to breathe and absorb water and nutrients and it also helps to prevent weed growth.
Mulch flower beds ready for planting — this helps to prevent weed growth and also enhances the nutrient content and structure of the soil. This will encourage active growth.
Apply fertilizer to soil beds — this also improves the structure and nutrient content of soil, enriching it in preparation for flowers, shrubs or vegetables.
Lay fleece on young plants to keep them warm and protect them from ground frost — there is still a risk of frost for a few weeks yet, so warming the ground with fleece, bubble wrap or just plain newspaper will ensure that young seedlings are not killed off by an unexpected frost.
Plant summer bulbs — this ensures you will have a colourful display by June/July. Good plants to try are Begonias, Freesias, Allium and Oriental Lily. These can be planted in beds or in patio containers.
Last chance to prune rose bushes — cut them down to half the size as this will induce larger, longer-lasting blooms throughout the summer months.
Clear away pond debris such as fallen leaves — ponds can become clogged over the winter months and this will inhibit the growth of pond plants and can also be an unhealthy environment for fish. Regular removal of unwanted weeds should be done all year round.
Remove pond heaters, clean and put away for the summer once the risk of the pond freezing is has past.
Sow summer bedding plants — Hardy annuals can now be planted straight into the soil beds, examples of these are Lavatera, Nasturtium and Calendula, although there is a wide range to choose from.
Sow half-hardy annuals such as Petunias, Lobelia and Busy Lizzie in the greenhouse — these plants cannot withstand even a mild frost, but can now be planted in pots and raised under glass or indoors.
Fruit & Veg Care in March
Feed and mulch fruit trees — mulching puts nutrients back into the soil, especially an organic mulch. This will also keeps weeds down and encourages growth in the next year’s crop as well as this year’s. A Mantis ComposTumbler is an ideal addition to your garden equipment shed. It’s the perfect tool for getting your composting underway this season.
Tidy herb garden — dig up, divide plants and replant them to allow propagation. Trimming down established plants will encourage new healthy leaves to develop. This is the time to sow herbs such as Basil, Oregano and Marjoram under glass. It is also time to pot grown herbs such as Sage and Rosemary straight into the beds.
Cover strawberries — as there is still a risk of frost for some weeks yet, and this can seriously harm the developing berries or blossoms, you may want to consider covering the plants with dry straw, or if not available, old cloth or paper.
Prune gooseberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and raspberries — don’t be afraid to cut the vines very low, this will encourage lots of new growth up the canes that you placed in the Autumn. Doing this will encourage an abundant crop come the summer. The Mantis Cordless Hedge Trimmer helps you get the job done fast.
Protect cherries, apricots, peaches and nectarines by covering with horticultural fleece or polythene — as mentioned previously, there is still a need to protect delicate berries and blooms from frost and birds.
Pollinate fruit trees by moving pollen around with a artist’s paint brush — not all fruit trees require this as there are a number of self-pollenating varieties around.
Build support trellis for sweet peas and peas and get plant support canes in before the growing gets under way.
Other Gardening Activities in March
Deal with slugs and snails — a lot of gardeners prefer not to use pellets now as they aren’t very environmentally friendly. To keep slugs and snails off plants in beds, consider laying a ring of egg shells down or, for plants in containers, a ring of copper around it gives off a light electric current that deters them. Vaseline mixed with salt around the rim of containers is also a good deterrent.
Plant new hedges — doing this in the early spring gives the plants plenty of time to establish throughout the year.
Prune/feed existing hedges — pruning can also be done at intervals throughout the summer.
Clean and prepare greenhouses — do this in preparation for sowing your half-hardy annuals and vegetables in pots so that they will be ready to plant out in late April.
Service/check garden equipment and machinery ready for the months ahead — if garden machinery hasn’t been used during the summer winter months, some equipment may have seized up. It may need a little oil and TLC before it is ready for regular use over the next few months. We can service your Mantis Tiller and attachments for you, so that you are ready for the gardening-filled year ahead.
Keep feeding the birds as they struggle to find food during the winter months — you should avoid putting bread, peanuts and fats out for them at this time of year as they may have nestling chicks and these foods can be harmful to them. Try using the fat balls that you can buy from your local pet store or garden centre as these provide a more balanced content.
March is a fickle month, so it’s important to be prepared for surprise frost. Be safe and adhere to our advice and you’ll get your garden off to a flying start in 2015. We hope you found this March Gardening Calendar useful. Stay tuned for next month’s gardening guide!