Your March Gardening Guide
There certainly is a drop in morning temperatures as we slowly swing towards the winter months. March is a busy time in the garden with loads of sowing, planting and planning to be done in preparation for winter and spring.
General March Garden Tasks
- Lift and divide summer- flowering perennials such as Agapanthus, Hemerocallis and Iris. Replenish planting holes with compost and cut plants back. Keep the divided clumps to a fair size, so that the plant can recover in time for next season. Water well.
- Weeds will be aplenty after the abundant rains we had. Pull them up regularly and before they go to seed as they compete with your garden plants for nutrition and water.
- Deadhead summer annuals that are still in flower and remove the spent ones. Prepare beds for winter annuals by digging in a thick layer of compost and 2:3:2 fertiliser according to instructions.
- Feed the garden and lawn with a potassium rich fertilizer like 3:1:5. This will help to strengthen the cell walls before winter and its frost arrives.
- Azaleas, Camellias and Gardenias will start forming their buds now. Keep them moist to avoid bud drop before they open in spring.
- Fertilise rose bushes with a balanced rose fertilizer and water twice a week if needed. Continue checking and treating for fungal and insect infestations.
The Food Garden
- Divide and plant strawberries towards the end of the month in well composted beds or pots.
- Garlic bulbs will be available for planting towards the end of March.
- Ensure that cabbages are kept moist and feed them fortnightly with an organic, liquid seaweed- or fish- based fertiliser or once a month with a balanced organic fertiliser, like 6:3:4.
- Pick the last of your spent summer vegetables like tomatoes, brinjals and peppers and pull up the plants. Prepare beds for winter vegetables by digging in a thick layer of compost and some organic 2:3:2 or bone meal according to instructions. If you have a dedicated vegetable patch and enough space to rotate crops, plant a green manure like Lucerne, clover, mustard or buckwheat. Dig into the soil before they go to seed – they will release nutrients, especially nitrogen, into the soil, enriching and improving it for summer crops.
- Harvest annual and frost tender herbs now while they still have zest and flavor. That doesn’t mean you’re in for a bland winter. Preserve the harvested herbs by drying, freezing or making a pesto or herb butter. They can also be preserved in oil or vinegar.
- Keep citrus trees moist while the fruits are swelling and spray with a kelp solution to provide trace elements. Thin fruit out if the tree is overloaded.
- Feed fruit trees that have finished fruiting with an organic 8:1:5 fertiliser. Spread the fertiliser along the dripline of the tree and water thoroughly.
- Feed all berries with an organic 3:1:5 fertiliser.
March is sowing month
It’s change of season and seeds on the shelves at Lifestyle Home Garden at the moment are suitable for sowing now and in the coming cooler months. Choose and sow your favourites from the following:
- Vegetables: Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, marog, onions, Oriental greens, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.
- Herbs: Dill, parsley, borage, chives, garlic chives, rocket and chamomile.
- Flowers: African daisies, Alyssum, Snapdragons, Bellis perennis, Calendula, Chrysanthemum paludosum, Dianthus, Bokbaai Vygies, Hollyhocks, Pansies, Poppies, Primulas, Stocks, Violas and the fragrant favourite, Sweet peas.
- The end of March is a good time to sow evergreen and shade lawn seed.
- Winter and spring-flowering bulbs will hit our shelves towards the end of March (enquire at our inside information desk for availability). Grab your favourites now – if it’s too early to plant, keep them in a cool, dark place.
- Prepare beds for bulbs by adding a good helping of compost and bone meal, vermicast or organic 2:3:2. Good drainage is essential. The preferred position will be indicated on the packaging as well as the plants’ suitability to being containerized. Cover planted bulbs with a layer of mulch. Water bulbs deeply every four days and pots more regularly.
- Summer-flowering bulbs will be going dormant now – mark the spot to protect the bulbs from being dug up and as a reminder when planning your planting next spring and summer.
- Start feeding summer bulbs as soon as they have finished flowering with a special bulb food or 3:1:5. Why now? Because they will store this food in their little bulbs in preparation for their spectacular show next season.
Ornamental grasses are in their prime at the moment. These grasses are low maintenance, waterwise, extremely showy and definitely on trend. Plant them en masse and in contrasting swathes of colours and textures to create a stunning show, especially when they sway in the breeze or catch the early morning light. Grasses also provide nesting materials and seeds for birds. Take your pick from the wide range available at Lifestyle Home Garden, many of which are on promotion right now!