My goal is to spend most of March doing my gardening jobs in Mrs Nextdoor’s glasshouse, sowing seed, pricking out and moving seedlings around. I feel so lucky to have this additional space. It really is such a luxury, especially in March when it feels like everything is happening at once.
Every year, I have a bit of a panic when I think I am not going to have enough space – whether that is for my pricked-out seedlings or for the plants themselves in the garden. Yet I cannot stop myself sowing more and more seeds. Perhaps that is what people mean when they talk about spring fever.
Gardening jobs for March in the kitchen garden
As I start to sow seeds under glass, I keep detailed notes of what I’ve done and when, and try to remember to write the year on the front of the seed packets, so I can see at a glance when I bought them and how long they have been open.
March is the last chance for tidying before the growing season starts. Go through your pots and remove any sad-looking foliage, and chuck out plants that haven’t made it through the winter. Top dress those that remain with a sprinkle of food, such as organic chicken manure pellets, and a layer of fresh compost.
If you are forcing rhubarb, remember to keep it well watered. Sitting under cover, it’s easy to forget about, but regular watering will stimulate growth and keep the stems tender, just as they should be. Be mindful of other plants too, particularly those in pots. It’s all too easy to assume that things don’t need watering while the weather is still cool, but that is not the case.
As the growing season begins, weeds will also spring into life. Run a sharp hoe down the rows to make short work of them and keep things looking tidy.
Now is a good time to stock up on compost. I like to have a few bags of seed compost as well as peat-free John Innes No. 2 for pricking out and potting on.
For Aaron's full column, subscribe to Gardens Illustrated magazine.
Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.
FIX YOUR PRICE FOR THE YEAR- HALF PRICE SALE!
Special offer to celebrate RHS Chelsea Flower Show! Get a whole year of Gardens Illustrated magazine for just £30 and FIX YOUR PRICE!- saving over 50%. Subscribe today and enjoy beautiful places, top planting ideas and expert advice for your garden. *Offer ends 1st July 2022. This offer is only available to UK residents paying by Direct Debit
Container Gardening Special Edition
The Gardens Illustrated Guide to Container Gardening. In this special edition, discover colourful flower combinations and seasonal planting schemes for pots designed by leading plantspeople, and essential know-how for container gardening success. Just £9.99 inc UK p&p
Gardens of the Globe
Discover some of the most glorious gardens from around the world.Find out more