By mid-March, Spring typically makes its appearance, bringing with it ample sunshine and a plethora of gardening tasks to tackle. As the days grow sunnier, it’s prime time to dive into preparing seed beds, planting seeds, pruning winter shrubs, and giving the garden a thorough tidy-up.

Here are our tips for making the most of the month ahead:

– Add organic matter to your soil. Adding a well rotted farmyard manure or garden compost will improve structure of your soil and increase drainage in wet soil. It also aids water retention in dry conditions. Never add fresh manure to your soil unless you are going to leave it bare. This is because it can ‘burn’ plant roots.

– Help our wild bees and other pollinators by ensuring your garden has a range of plants that flower year-round. Pollinators prefer simple single flowers that are easier toget pollen. Do not use pesticides on plants in flower. Some perfect pollinator friendly plants to plant this month (March) are Erysimums (wallflowers) Malus domestica (apple trees) and primula vulgaris (the native primrose).

– Deadhead daffodils as they fade by cutting off the flower head. Leave the foliage to die back naturally as this fertilises the bulb encouraging it to flower and naturalise next year.

– March is the time that you can start sowing your onions and shallots. Put them so that you can just see the bulb tip above the soil.

– Ensure you are ready to battle with slugs and snails. They love to damage new shoots and young transplants.

– Put out food for hedgehogs emerging from hibernation. Avoid bread and milk, opt for specialist hedgehog food (which we sell) or dog food.

– According to Allergy Uk, one in four people have hay fever. Proteins in the pollen cause the immune system to overreact. This creates the chemical histamine causing discomfort and symptoms like sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes. Although associated with the countryside, hayfever is actually worse in urban environments where pollen mixes with pollutants and becomes more irritating. There are some plants that are low on pollen and therefore better for hayfever sufferers. These varieties include: Holly (Ilex aquifolium especially the female form of Argentea Marginata), Escalonia, Sorbus (whitebeam), clematis armandii, Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis), Garden Pinks (dianthus).

– Sow seeds of tender vegetables this March such as tomatoes, peppers and chillies.

– If you have young seedlings outside in the ground on on an allotment, protect them from frost by laying horticultural fleece or a cloche over them at night.
If the ground dries up enough you can start cutting your lawn in March. Start with the cutter on its highest position and gradually bring it down.

– Regularly clean your bird feeders and baths to prevent the spread of disease between birds.

– If you are sowing runner beans in your garden or allotment this year, now is a great time to prepare trenches with a well-rotted manure and shredded paper at the base.

– Prune your climbing roses this March. Undo the trained rose from the structure you have it trained to. Check all branches for dead wood and remove any dead wood you find. Retain vigorous young branches (bright green stems). Remove only a few old branches if new pale green branches have grown from below. Tie on the long main branches to their structure again. The side branches are not pruned as the rose will flower on these again this summer.

– Prune your winter flowering heathers (Ericas). Cut them down to just below the dead flowers. You can prune carefully stem by stem or grab a bunch of branches in one hand and cut the exposed plant above your hand.