March is a busy time on the allotment, as you need to prepare soil, sow seeds and plant out a huge variety of edible crops. Key jobs include weeding, sowing seeds and planting out. Only plant out when temperatures are above freezing, ensuring plants are hardy and have been hardened off (acclimatised to outside conditions) before planting. Pre-warming the soil with cloches or clear plastic sheeting can enable you to plant certain crops – such as broad beans – out sooner. For more ideas, read our comprehensive guide about what to plant in March.
Here are some key allotment jobs for March.
Weed your plot
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. You may spot early infestations of aphids but be patient – remember they're an important food source for ladybirds, hoverflies and birds such as sparrows, which will keep numbers of aphids in check so they don't become a problem.
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. Need a new cloche? We've chosen a range of different styles in our roundup of the best garden cloches.
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.
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, either by mail order or look for them at the garden centre.
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. Get started with our guide to peat free composts.
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. If you like to plan ahead, find out about allotment jobs for April in our seasonal guide.
- Buy bare-root strawberry runners and fruit bushes from Crocus
- Buy bare-root fruit trees from Crocus and Suttons
- Buy bare-root asparagus crowns from Crocus, Thompson & Morgan and Suttons
- Buy shallots and onion sets from Crocus, Thompson & Morgan and Suttons
- Buy garlic from Crocus, Thompson & Morgan and Suttons