March is a month for harvesting the last of the crops that have remained in the ground over winter, such as parsnips, leeks and Brussels sprouts. It’s also time to start harvesting forced crops such as rhubarb, and early spring crops like early spring cabbages.
Discover seven flowers to pick in March.
Here are some crops to harvest in March, with tips on how to grow them.
Sprouts taste better once they have been touched by frost. Pick from the bottom of the stem up, when the sprouts are tightly closed, by snapping them off downwards. At the end of the season you can eat the sprout tops.
A crop of Brussels sprouts ready to harvest
Pick leaves as needed, when they are 10-15cm long. After a frost they have the best flavour.
Green and purple, young kale leaves
Leeks can be left in the ground and harvested when needed. On a heavy soils, you may need to use a fork to lift your crop. On light soils you can pull them up direct. Wash the crop carefully to remove soil and grit. Find out how to grow leeks from seed.
Harvesting a leek, using a hand fork to lift from the roots
Parsnips can be left in the soil and harvested when needed – they are another crop that tastes better after a frost. They can be left in the soil. Find out how to grow parsnips from seed.
Harvesting muddy parsnips
Purple sprouting broccoli
Using a sharp knife, cut the central spear first – this will encourage new spears to develop. Then take a few spears (around 10cm long) from each plant. Pick while the flower buds are still tight – once the flower buds have opened, the crop won’t be as tasty. Find out how to grow purple sprouting broccoli.
Harvesting spears of purple sprouting broccoli into a colander
Forced rhubarb stems should be ready to harvest eight weeks after covering. Gently pull the stems from the base of the crown and remove the poisonous leaves before eating. Find out how to plant rhubarb.
Uncovering forced rhubarb
Harvest each cabbage using a sharp knife. Leave a 10cm stalk, then cut a cross in the top and it might produce an extra cabbage or two. Find out how to plant spring cabbages.
A patch of mature cabbages
When the curd (the white head) is about two to three inches in diameter, cover the ‘curd’ or head with leaves, to keep it white. Check it from time to time and harvest a couple of weeks later, when the head is firm. Cut with a large knife. Once the florets have started to separate, the crop will be spoiled.
A perfect cauliflower plant
With cut-and-come-again varieties, just cut a few leaves from each plant. Alternatively, take a few leaves from the outside of the plant. Taking little and often will keep the plants cropping for longer.
Purple winter salad