Saturday, March 15, 2008

March Gardening

March is a great month for harvesting fruit and vegetables from the garden. Usually there is surplus produce and we need to find ways to store this for future use. Today freezing is by far the most popular method. It is easy, quick and cost effective in time and expense. Vegetables need to be cleaned and blanched in hot water, cooled, dried off, placed into freezer bags and placed into the freezer. A more time consuming but colourful way of preserving is bottling of fruit and beetroot.

Vegetable Garden

* Sow lettuce, silverbeet, turnips, onions, broad beans parsley, sugar snap peas.
* Water regularly and evenly.
* Sow a green manure cover crop if the ground is not being used – mustard, blue lupin barley or oats.
* Harvest potatoes, onions, garlic, runner beans, dwarf beans
* Plant succession crops of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, silver beet, brussel sprouts.
* Protect cauliflower etc from sunburn and early frosts by bending the leaves over the top of the curd.
* Control white butterfly with spray or Derris Dust.

Flower Garden

* Prepare the flower garden for the planting of annual plants for winter and spring displays. Clear out all the summer annuals that have finished, add compost or soil container to the soil and cultivate to a fine filth. Add some slow release fertilizer like Blood and Bone to the soil.
* Now is a good time to take cuttings of most shrubs in the garden.
* Plant out spring flowering bulbs or plan to plant them in April.
* Sow sweet peas in place in the ground.
* Wallflowers and Polyanthus should be planted late in the month.
* Continue to trim shrubs and perennials so that they do not get out of hand.
* This time of year you can prepare shrubs for shifting around the garden. ‘Wrenching’ is the process of cutting some roots by digging part way around the shrub. This forces now fine roots to grow close to the plant so that you can dig up the plant already has a crop of fine roots which will support the plant in it’s new location.


* Prepare soil surface for seed sowing.
* Sow lawn seed in late March and keep well watered
* Spray out weeds using proprietary selective lawns sprays
* Top dress hollows with sieved soil to level out lawns. Sow grass seed and keep watered.
* Water regularly.
* Fertilise the lawn to encourage a good sward of grass.

* Continue looking after all your plants – keep tomatoes healthy.
* At this time of the year harvest as much as possible and freeze to preserve.
* Remove weeds and do not allow insects and diseases to build up or it will be a worse problem next year.

* Plant out new strawberry plants.
* Harvest fruit carefully. Do not break the branches when picking fruit.
* Remove all the bad fruit not harvested and dispose of it.
* Fertilise Citrus trees.
* Spray Citrus with Copper based sprays.
* Remove old canes from Raspberries and Boysenberries.

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