Allotment jobs for March

March is a busy time on the allotment – the days are lengthening and getting warmer, and the growing season is getting underway. Unfortunately that includes weeds and weeding is a very important job in early spring – get on top of them now and you’ll save yourself a lot of work later in the year.

You can also begin to sow and plant out – see our handy guide vegetable seeds to sow in March, but only do this if the weather is good. The weather can be fickle at this time of year – some days are warm and sunny, while others are still cold and if the weather is bad, wait until better weather is forecast. In the meantime, you could warm the soil on part of the plot for early sowings.

Here are some key allotment jobs for March.

1.Weed your plot

Dig out any problem weeds, especially perennial weeds – if you get on top of them now, they’ll be easier to control for the rest of the year. Hoe regularly to prevent annual weed seedlings growing.

2.Protect plants from pests

Slugs can start to be a problem in warmer, wet weather, so take steps to protect your plants. Protect brassicas from hungry pigeons by covering them with fleece. Look out for grey mould and downy mildew on brassicas. You might spot some aphids, too.
3.Warm the soil and force early crops

Cover beds with cloches or black plastic to warm the soil for early sowings. Encourage an early crop of strawberries in early summer by covering a row or two with a cloche. You can continue to force rhubarb, too, by covering it with a forcer or upturned dustbin or bucket.

4.Feed brassicas and fruit

Feed cabbages and other brassicas with pelleted chicken manure or other nitrogen-rich fertiliser. You could also feed fruit trees and bushes, including cherries and plums.

5.Order or buy young veg plants

Buy trays of young veg plants that you don’t have the time or space to grow from seed. Buy them by mail order or look for them at the garden centre.

6.Sow seeds

Sow beetroot, broad beans, salads and Swiss chard direct into well-prepared soil. You could also make early sowings of carrots, peas, spinach and radishes if the soil is warm enough. You can also start off aubergines, chillies and peppers, plus tomatoes, under cover.

7.Get planting

Planting onions in a row
March is the last month for planting bare-root fruit trees and bushes. You can also plant bare-root strawberry runners, asparagus crowns and Jerusalem artichokes and plant out garlic, shallots and onion sets.

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