I love March. You're elbow-deep in seed compost and every sprig of green is a reminder you're at the start of a squeaky clean year. Sure, it's not the easiest of months. The weather ping-pongs between bitter frost and balmy sunshine, and the pea seedlings are under attack from rampaging mice. But it takes more than that to keep a good gardener down. I'll be burying treasures-to-come in the kitchen garden and filling the flower garden with the promise of scent and colour.
Veg jobs for March
- Sow a second batch of lettuce seed while last month's sowings are still seedlings. Then just as you finish harvesting the first lot, you'll have another crop arriving
- Each beetroot 'seed' is really a cluster, producing several seedlings in a clump, so thin out all but the strongest to grow on
- Sow kale seeds in module trays filled with good-quality seed compost, two seeds to a 5cm cell. They'll germinate happily in a cool greenhouse or coldframe
- Pot on seedlings you sowed last month. Give them their own 7cm containers as soon as they produce 'true' leaves looking like miniature versions of those on the mature plant
- Get slug defences in early, especially for direct-sown seedlings coming through under cloches. Beer traps, wildlife-friendly ferric phosphate slug pellets or thick barriers of bran (available from health food shops) all work well
- Hoe off weed seedlings which germinated early under the clear polythene covers you put over veg beds last month, leaving your ground 'clean' and weed free for sowing
- Test your soil with the back of your hand before sowing direct to make sure it's warm enough. If it feels chilly, it's too soon and seeds will sulk instead of germinating
- Tip one last rich layer of well-rotted manure or compost into your climbing bean trench and finish it off with a layer of topsoil ready for planting time next month
- Temperatures on windowsills can plunge dramatically after dark, giving sensitive tomato seedlings a shock. Move them onto a table in the warmer centre of the room on chilly nights to keep them cosy
Seed Club veg offers
Snap up bargains at Mr Fothergill's:
Flower jobs for March
- 'Stop' sweet pea seedlings sown last month once they're about 10cm tall. Pinching out the top tuft of leaves encourages lots of flower-laden side shoots
- Towards the end of the month, move sweet peas and module-grown Nigella into a coldframe to toughen them up a little before planting out
- Pre-chilled larkspur seeds can go in the ground as soon as the soil is warm enough; the seedlings sulk if you try to transplant them, so sow where you want them to grow
- Draw where you want to sow your annuals onto the soil using silver sand dribbled from a plastic drinks bottle, marking out big, generous drifts for real head-turning impact
- Sow love-in-a-mist (Nigella) in straight drills, even within an irregularly-shaped drift: that way it's easier to tell which seedlings are the ones you want, and which are weeds
- Sow cosmos seed in 5cm module trays. Keep them warm, covering trays with clear plastic until germination, so the surface doesn't dry out
- Sow rudbeckia into seed trays full of good-quality seed compost, spacing seeds about 1cm apart (use the end of a pencil to separate any which fall in clumps)
- Get your cut flower patch ready for sowing. Fork over the ground and remove large stones and weeds before raking it level
- Make a seed storage box with card dividers for each month. After sowing, move the seed packet into the 'May' slot to remind you to re-sow and keep those flowers coming!
Seed Club flower offers
Save money at Mr Fothergill's:
Seed Club - jobs for April
As the days lengthen, so does the to-do list. We'll be helping those first seedlings leap into the big wide world. And with temperatures now warm enough for sowing tender annuals, we’ll be spending a lot more time in the greenhouse.
Seed Club factsheets
Download your handy, printable factsheets, giving you the know-how to grow vigorous and healthy crops from seed. (The factsheets, in PDF format, open in a new window.)
View the full range of offers
Browse the full range of seed collection, tools and accessories on offer by visiting the Seed Club page on the Mr Fothergills website.
More advice on seed sowing
Seeding sowing projects and videos
For more tips and advice on raising plants from seed, browse our extensive collection of step-by-step projects and practical videos.
Back to Seed Club homepage
Seed Club - advice for February
Seed Club - advice for April
Seed Club - advice for May
Seed Club - advice for June
Sign up for the Seed Club