March in the Garden Checklist
As the last month of summer comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing the garden for autumn and winter growing. March presents ideal conditions for sowing seeds as the day temperatures are still warm enough, while night temperatures begin dropping gradually. This is also a great time for cool-season seed germination varieties, and let’s not forget that much-loved gardening maintenance.
Flowers and foliage
The autumn climate is well-suited for planting as new roots get a chance to establish themselves before spring. Try sowing these lovelies now for a brilliant flush of colour and fragrance:
- African daisy (Dimorphoteca) to beautify beds, borders, and containers.
- Livingstone daisy, known also as Bokbaai vygie (Mesembryanthemum) are colourful customers.
- Virginian stocks (Malcolmia maritima) as an enthusiastic and cheerful bloom.
- Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
- Blue Felicia bush (Felicia amelloides) for fast-growing, striking sky-blue flowers.
Before sowing sweet peas, prepare their new home by digging deep trenches and working in some nutritious compost from your local GCA Garden Centre. Bonemeal (if you don’t have dogs) and super-phosphate are excellent choices to assist in creating your sweet pea sanctuary. Remember to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water before sowing directly into the ground.
Roses are a simply spectacular sight in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their leaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilise with rose food – your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best option. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.
Tree tip: Plant new fruit trees from mid-March onwards in temperate regions to ensure a good spring and summer harvest. Your GCA Garden Centre has a tasty selection of fruits to grow, go check it out.
Veggies and herbs
Winter veggies are ready to be planted for delicious soups and stews to enjoy during the chilly nights. Remember that your GCA Garden Centre supplies both vegetable seeds and seedlings to get you started. Sow/plant these cool-season sensations now for an autumn/winter harvest:
- Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Broad beans, Brussel sprouts, and onions
- Spinach, leeks, celery, and peas
- Gooseberries, beetroot, and garlic
- Oriental veggie varieties available at your GCA garden centre
Bedding bestie tip: Do companion planting with wild garlic, yarrow, comfrey, and Marigolds to assist with soil nutrition and natural pest control.
For an on-demand homegrown supply of fresh herbs during winter, start harvesting and preserving your greens now. Chop mint, parsley, basil and lemon balm, place them in an ice tray, fill with water, and pop them in the freezer. Aromatic herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, bay leaf, and rosemary, are better air-dried. Continue to feed herbs monthly with a half-strength liquid fertiliser and water regularly.
Must love maintenance
March is a month of maintenance, for which you’ll be gloriously rewarded as we move into winter. Give the garden a little extra TLC in preparation of the changing season. A little goes a long way in terms of the overall appearance and fertility of your beds, plants, and harvest. Start these maintenance jobs now:
- Work in about 30cm of compost into beds with a handful of bonemeal or super-phosphate to ensure plants have all the nutrition they need for winter.
- Trim ground covers like sutera (bacopa) that may have taken strain during the hot summer months. They’ll produce fresh new growth and will thicken up nicely.
- Give fynbos plants like confetti bush, a light trim to shape them up before their winter flowering.
- Protect grapes this time of year and prune back excessive leaves to allow more sunlight into the crop.
- Once nectarines, peaches and plums have finished fruiting, prune to shape and remove any dead or diseased branches.
- Remember to reduce the amount of water given to houseplants.
Although summer has loved and left us, autumn has come with its own wonderful variety of sowing opportunities. There’s always a flower, fruit, and veggie in need of a home, roses looking for a pruning, and a little maintenance to make all the difference. Enjoy March in the garden and tick off your to-do checklist with the help of tools, accessories, and seeds available at your GCA Garden Centre.