MARCH TIPS

Time to clear up beds and enjoy the bulbs! 

Ways to Kick start the Vegetable Patch 

• Hoe winter-dug beds to remove weeds and debris, then rake in all-purpose fertilizer to prepare for sowing next month. Asparagus is a perennial and needs its own patch – sunny, sheltered and extremely well-manured. 

• Plant onion and shallot sets with their tops just under the surface to stymie foraging blackbirds. 

• Dig a trench 5in (12cm) deep and line it with well-rotted organic matter before planting chitted first early potatoes. 

• Fill a pit with well-rotted organic matter and plant dormant rhubarb crowns so the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.

• Sow peas, lettuce, leeks, kale, carrots, broccoli, beans, sweetcorn and spinach, and keep the seed trays in a cold greenhouse. Peppers and aborigines need a warm windowsill.

• Pot up strawberries in the greenhouse for an early Jubilee weekend crop. 

Sources of Free Plants

• Divide late summer and autumn-flowering perennials, herbs such as chives and mint, and marginal plants around your pond, including arum lilies. 

• Split snowdrops into gaggles of three or four bulbs and redistribute around the garden. 

• Layer magnolias, rhododendrons and viburnums. 

• Take basal stem cuttings from delphiniums, salvias, lupins and asters. 

• Scoop up self-sown seedlings of cerinthe and hellebores, and transplant or pot up to sell or swap. 

Problem of the Month 

Diagnosis: Daffodil blindness 

Cure: Deadhead, leave foliage (unknotted) for six weeks after flowering and fatten up bulbs fortnightly with tomato feed. Divide if crowded.