The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Friday, 9 March 2018

This Month in Your Garden

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant" - Anne Bradstreet

Certainly winter has hung on grimly with the wind and snow from the east to disrupt everything. This time last year we were saying spring arrives in mid March, so we hope we’re right in believing the freak front will subside soon and allow us into the garden to start planting and sowing.

If you’re still waiting for the ground to warm up you could be cutting back winter shrubs, tidying, weeding and pruning. Large flowering clematis, roses, dogwood, buddleia and willow will all benefit from being cut back. The soil in borders you dug over in the autumn will have benefitted from the heavy frosts and can be worked over with a spade or fork to create a fine tithe, with plenty of compost added ready for planting.

The Lawn Care Guide - March

"I fought the lawn and the lawn won" - Internet quote

Sometimes it does seem as if the lawn is dictating to us. For sure, the ambient soil temperature will determine whether you need to be out there mowing, hand weeding, grooming. Time to take control and tell the lawn you’re in charge.

Once you have decided how your regime is to be run you can have a lawn as good as the best. If you have been following the Gardener’s Journal tips for lawns you’ll know we’ve talked about aerating and scarifying come the spring to counter moss and thatch. Before you do that you’ll be mowing and it’s recommended you start with a higher cut and gradually lower the tractor deck or adjust the mower height. Your grass is most probably a mixture of fine and coarse grasses.

Lawn Care: Questions and Answers

Q. Can I make my own top dressing rather than buying it? 

A. You can make your own top dressing with a mix of sieved soil, garden compost and sharp sand in a 3:2:3 ratio.

The Vegetable Plot - March

"There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic" -  Louis Diat

Well, as soon as we can get into the vegetable garden it’s time to put in the onion, shallot and garlic sets, along with seed potatoes. If you’re in a mild area you could be sowing peas, broad beans, parsnips and carrots, along with Jerusalem artichoke tubers, asparagus crowns and globe artichokes. Now if that sounds like meals for kings, if you have the space it’s really take your pick month for the number of vegetables you can grow from seed in March if the weather (at last) becomes suitable.

The Big Glut Recipe

Roasted red pepper and tomato soup

A nice warmer while the March weather sorts itself out. Add a dash of extra virgin olive and some fresh basil, and follow the extra tip to make it really special for four people. A House and Garden recipe

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large red peppers, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 600g (21oz) ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1l chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh basil, to garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to garnish