WHAT DO TO IN LATE MARCH

Plant something special in your garden, Edgeworthia, Chrysantha distinctive yellow flowers with an exquisite scent known as the Forest Daphne.

In a less favourable site plant Viburnum bod. ‘Charles Lamont’ highly perfumed white buds turning to pink flowers.

It goes without saying if you don’t sow, you don’t reap and with the modern busy lifestyle it’s quite easy to miss the planting season. I find if you start in time you won’t be playing catch up, what I mean is it’s much easier to dig the soil now while it’s still soft. It will take twice as much effort and much longer to do the same amount of cultivation in three weeks. I consider an hour spent weeding in the garden now more productive than a whole day in a month’s time. The reason being weeds are at their weakest this time of the year and their roots don’t have a strong grip and are easily hoed out. If you equip yourself with a good quality hoe and confine your attention to the top ½ “ of soil, weeding this time of year is child’s play. Many shrubs are pruned this time of year (ones that flower after the longest day of the year) the sooner this pruning is done, the better the resulting flower. The same goes for fertilizer, applied now to trees, shrubs and hedging it will have maximum effect. Give roses their first spray for blackspot, prevention rather than cure.  Kill grass around fruit trees, you will increase the crops of fruit by 50%. The same goes for killing grass around hedges planted in the last couple of years. Feed hedges now and remove the grass 18” to 2 feet out from the stem, the resulting growth will be 50% better.  Roundup is an excellent spray for doing this, direct the spray away from your plants on a calm day, do it as soon as you can before the grass starts to grow.  When Roundup touches the soil is neutralized and does not poison the earth. For small shrubs or areas too difficult to spray, mix the Roundup in a bucket and use a paint brush or a roller. Traditionally St Patricks Day or thereabouts was considered early potato planting time, they are so easy to grow and they’re great as a first crop. Weeds can often be a problem when you dig a new area but by growing potatoes the first year, the farmyard manure you use will increase the soil fertility and improve the soil structure and weeds are no match for the overpowering potato stalks. One word of caution, we can still get frosty nights so it’s important to harden off soft plants before you plant them out. I use garden fleece, it protects the plants but doesn’t catch the wind or rain and if you forget to take it off for a day, your plants will not suffer. Never use plastic as it can do a lot of damage and remember all your good work can be ruined if you forget the slugs and snails, I use Neudorff Sluggo, it's organic and it won’t poison the birds.

March