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Gardening Hints and Tips for March 2023

Weeding: Weeds will be growing as strongly as your plants, so keep on top of them before they can get a hold. Digging them up with a hand fork is the best idea, as you can get all the roots out.

Pest Control: Now that spring has arrived, the temperature should be starting to creep upwards. But the lush new growth that this encourages is irresistible to slugs and snails, so be sure to take some controls now.

Clean the Mower: Before you make the first cut of the year, check the underside of your lawn mower and grass trimmer and scrape off any old clippings that are stuck to them. It will make the mower lighter to push and more efficient at its job. If there’s one job to resolve to do more often this coming year, regularly cleaning the bottom of the mower is it.

Compost: Prepare for sowing seeds and potting up plug plants. Buy fresh, as compost deteriorates in the bag overtime and gives a poor performance. Check that the packaging isn’t faded and the bag doesn’t feel heavy or waterlogged. Store in a shed or garage so it doesn’t get wet.

Sow Seeds: Broad beans, spinach, lettuce, peas for pods and shoots, onions, spring onions, early brassicas, such as cabbage, calabrese, kohl rabi and cauliflower, turnip, radish, parsley, coriander, dill and beetroot can all be sown in module trays indoors and planted outside when they’re big enough to handle.

Feed Rhubarb: Give rhubarb a boost with a high-nitrogen feed, such as sulphate of ammonia or chicken-manure pellets.

Gently fork it into the surface of the soil around the plant and water if the weather is dry.

Mulch bare soil: Add organic matter to improve your soil by simply spreading it on the surface in a layer roughly 3-5cm deep. Spent mushroom compost, well-rotted manure and garden compost all are ideal.

Turn the compost heap: The composting process naturally slows down during the colder winter weather. To help give it a boost, stir your compost heap with an aerator tool or dig it out and refill it. This will reduce compaction and speed up rotting.

Cut back ornamental grasses: After looking good all winter, the biscuit-coloured stems of deciduous ornamental grasses, such as miscanthus, will begin to get untidy. Using secateurs, cut them back to ground level, being careful not to damage any new, green growth that's sprouting at the base.You can give plants a boost by feeding them and mulching around them.

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