March can seem like a false start, but you can crack on indoors, and watch the weather for signs to sow outside
Whatever TS Eliot says, March may be the cruellest month. The days are longer, the vernal equinox is close, the clocks go forward (the first extra hour is on the 31st), but still it’s time to hold back. In the vegetable garden at least.
All the advice is to cloche and cover if sowing, say, carrots outdoors – particularly if you live outside the south. We don’t cover over at the plot, so I watch the weather and forecasts obsessively and take my pointers from the weeds. If it is warm enough for them to thrive I might scatter or sow a rill of oriental salads. It is too hard to resist their ragged beauty.
I will also hoe the annual weeds and look to lose any perennials.
Indoors is a different story, with tomatoes, lettuces, chillies, peppers, cucumbers all good to go, though I advise holding off till nearer the end of March than going at the start.
Any overwintered crops, such as onion, kale and chard, are in need of a feed. I use a liquid seaweed to revive them, and maybe to spray on unsown soil.
Chitted potatoes, whether earlies or maincrops, should all go in this month. Choose a warm day and check that the soil is soft and well-prepped. Dig a shallow trench a good 6in deep and space the potatoes about a foot apart (15cm and 30cm, if you prefer metric) with the shoots pointing up.
I am often in two minds about planting potatoes as Plot 29 is small, but somehow growing them feels essential if I aspire to be a proper gardener. Spring-sown broad beans, spinach and onion sets should also be good to go in. Keep an eye out for slugs and snails.
Lastly, sow nasturtiums and calendula – cheery companions for your plants and for you.