TAKING CARE OF YOUR GARDEN IN MARCH

Pruning roses keep them in shape and encourages more flower growth and healthier plants. Cut weak shoots right back to promote stronger growth from the base. Remove dead shoots and the tips of stems showing die back. Look for crossing and badly placed branches and cut them out to form a good shape. Cut just above a bud pointing in the direction you want the new growth. Avoid spreading disease by always making sure your secateurs are clean and sharp.

  • Spread a layer of manure or compost around roses and shrubs.
  • Chit seed potatoes in trays in a bright, frost-free position.
  • Sow broad beans, carrots and hardy peas outside in soil warmed by cloches.
  • Prune summer-flowering clematis, cutting above a low pair of green buds.
  • Prune all stems of Hydrangea paniculata down to about three buds from soil level.
  • Carry on sowing seeds in pots or trays in the greenhouse, ready to transplant later, including Brussels sprouts, spring cabbage and onions.

It’s great to see the daffodils popping up their heads and the sight of baby lambs out in the fields is a sure sign that spring is here. Everything is coming to life and there is lots to be done in the garden, lots of prep work for this year’s crop and it’s the ideal time for planting trees and shrubs and anybody considering planting beech hedging which is normally sold bare rooted needs to do so in the next 3 weeks and for that matter any bare rooted plants must be planted soon. Plants grown in containers can be planted all year round but ones planted now will be much further advanced and if your soil is dry enough get planting now. If you are considering moving plants in the garden now is the time, most plants will move successfully if they haven’t been left there for years and years. When moving plants try and keep some soil on the roots and stake plants well after replanting, while I think of it after the storms of recent weeks you might check any plants that you have staked if the ties have loosened and the stem of the plant is constantly rubbing off the stake it can cause a lot of damage. The benefits of gardening are many I don’t need to preach to the converted but if you want to enjoy one of the tastiest fruits of your labour plant some raspberry canes now, it’s so simple and you will be amazed at how tasty fresh raspberries are. Raspberry canes are usually sold bare rooted so you must plant them soon. There are a number of varieties to choose from basically there are two main types summer fruiting and autumn fruiting varieties. The difference been summer fruiting varieties produce fruit on last  season growth and autumn fruiting varieties produce fruit on current seasons growth. The type you choose will dictate the way you grow it.  Summer fruiting varieties are grown between wires to support the canes at about 1.2metres high (4ft) and the canes are topped off in late summer at about 1.8 m (6ft) whereas autumn fruiting raspberries are cut back to ground level in early spring, no wires necessary and the new canes will produce fruit by autumn.  At this stage you would probably say autumn is the way to go, the drawback been that autumn raspberry canes only produce about half the amount of fruit as summer fruiting varieties so I would plant both and prolong the fruiting season. There is an autumn fruiting variety that produces yellow fruit called All Gold, you have never eaten anything like it. Raspberries are so easy to grow and once you plant them you have them for years.

March