In The Garden: March

2nd March 2012

Go Green In The Garden

Tips for this month's gardening from National Garden Gift Vouchers

March is the real start of the gardening year, the month for sowing seeds and planting. It’s not just about adding new stuff, though, but also about re-invigorating and livening up existing flower beds, borders and containers.

It’s also time for gardeners to look at ways to improve their ‘green’ credentials. Although 86% of garden owners undertook at least one ‘green’ gardening activity in the last year there is still more that can be done. Only 34% make compost from their garden waste, for example, and only 31% save rain or waste water for use on their garden (PlantforLife Environment Report 2011). One of the simplest ways to reduce the amount of water used in the garden is to invest in a water butt and collect as much rain water as possible to recycle in the garden. Compost, too, is such an integral part of the garden system that it makes sense to give making your own a go. You can include all vegetable waste, organic household waste like tea bags and newspapers and collect fallen leaves later in the year. Both water and compost are essential ingredients for a healthy garden – particularly if you are thinking of ‘growing your own’.

One in three adults say they intend to grow their own fruit, vegetables or salads and the figures suggest that apples and strawberries are the most popular fruits to grow, while potatoes and runner beans are the most popular vegetable. There are numerous combinations of fruit and vegetable gardens that can be created depending on specific tastes. With one £50 National Garden Gift Voucher you can create a veritable utopia and you’ll get to enjoy the mouth-watering fruits (and veg) of your labour.

Strawberries are vigorous and often enthusiastic growers, and also make good ground cover in beds and borders. If you’re looking for other plants that will do this, an alternative is the popular Vinca, part of the periwinkle family. Vinca minor can be planted in smaller beds and borders to add foliage and colour as well as in winter baskets and containers. It’s a great way of providing cover for poor, dry, slightly shady garden areas and its creeping and arching stems soon make an attractive carpet of bright green foliage. The small sky-blue flowers appear in spring. Vinca will grow in most soil types but, like most other plants, it does require good drainage.

It’s not just about planting this month though – here are some other useful tips for March, to get your gardening season off to a great start…

• Cut back hedges before birds start to nest

• Start to prune roses removing dead damaged or diseased stems

• With so much fresh, tender growth around, slugs and snails are in their element and you need to deal with them before your plants disappear before your eyes

• Keep your eyes peeled for weeds starting to come through

• Sow your vegetable seeds and plant your potatoes

• Start composting

• Start conserving water

• Re-pot houseplants

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