March is one of the busiest months for gardeners. Many hands make light work, so get the little ones togged out in wellies and gardening gloves and set them to work with you on this list of March must-dos.
The daylight is lasting a little longer so some smaller jobs can be done after school rather than waiting until the weekend.
Weed Control As the weather warms up and the Sun spends more time with his hat on (hip hip hip hooray), the first flora to take advantage will be the weeds. Stay on top of weed control before the blighters take over your flower bed. To help children identify weeds, make a chart with photographs or even actual leaves to look out for. Use a hand trowel to get down under the roots for permanent removal.
Vegetable Patch If you already have a vegetable patch, now is the time to harvest winter salads, leeks, kale, brussel sprouts and rhubarb. If you are new to growing your own veg, you need to get the patch established this month. Consider a raised bed which will stay warmer over winter months, is easier to dig over, and is less prone to attack from weeds and pests. Carrots, parsnips, broad beans, spinach, lettuce, peas and early potatoes can all the sown now.
Get Composting March is a good month to establish a compost bin if you don't already have one. After all your weeding and pruning you will have plenty of greenery to fill it with, and by summer you will have access to some lovely soil improver to dig into the earth. Position your composter away from any play equipment, and out of direct sunlight.
Daffodil Trimming As lovely as they are, daffodils don't last forever, and once they've been battered by the British wind and rain they can start to look really tatty. To keep the bulbs flowering year after year, cut the dead heads off, but allow the leaves to die back naturally. Encourage Wildlife If you have been feeding the birds through the winter they will be very grateful for your kindness, but will also have become quite reliant on your as a food source. As the weather starts to heat up you may think they are ready to be self-sufficient, but they will really benefit from a steady supply of food while they are nesting and nurturing young. If you really want to give mother nature a boost install a nesting box in a quiet area of your garden.
You can also encourage butterflies and insects by sowing wildlife friendly flower seeds such as verbena or honesty. These will flower in the summer, luring beautiful butterflies into your garden and providing the birds with fresh tasty insects.
Check Play Equipment While you are out making your garden ship-shape, take a few moments to inspect climbing frames, swings, slides and trampolines. Look for any obvious signs of damage, or loose parts that need fixing, and make sure any safety mats are still in the correct positon. Teach your children what to look out for so they will know to bring any problems to your attention.