March is the time to plan for spring flowers and vegies. Give your flowers and vegies the head start they need to have blooming colours and a bountiful harvest this spring with these great tips from Bunnings horticulturalist Mark Dedman. It would also be great if Workshop members could add their tips by replying below.
What To Plant
March is the time of year to plant bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths in your garden.
In the tropical north, sweet potatoes, squashes, melons, cucumbers and capsicums can go in your vegie garden while impatiens, marigold and petunias can go in your garden beds. These can also look great in pots and troughs to brighten up a courtyard or balcony.
A bit further south in the sub-tropical zone, leeks, rhubarb, zucchinis, artichokes and capsicums planted now will give you a bountiful spring harvest. Salvia, verbena and lobelia will add colour too.
Temperate regions should look to beetroot, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cauliflowers, onions and peas for their vegie patch and calendula, pansies, dianthus and sweet pea in the garden.
In cold climates, sow broad beans, cabbages, lettuce, shallots, spinach and turnips. In your flower beds polyanthus, poppies and primula should be planted.
If you are growing grass from seed, especially kikuyu, now is the time. The bit of growth you’ll get before winter means that your grass will be ready to thrive as soon as spring arrives.
What To Pick
Potatoes should be ready to be dug up now. If you are unsure, wait until the plant has completely shrivelled. That is when you should break out the shovel.
In the vegie garden, late-season tomatoes and zucchinis are ready to harvest as are pumpkins.
Early season apple varieties are also ready to be picked.
What To Do
Fertilise your lawn now so it gets one last spurt of growth that will see it through winter.
To ensure your berries are ready to endure the winter, tidy them up now. Remove any dead leaves and trim off the tops. Give them a good feed with an organic fertiliser like blood and bone.
You can also improve the soil in any empty beds of your vegie garden to get them ready for spring. Plant wheat or oats, let them grow to about 20cm high then dig them back in. This will organically add humus and nitrogen to the soil, giving your spring vegies the best possible start.
While the weather’s still good, take the opportunity to get out in the garden and get busy. Come springtime, you’ll be surrounded with colour and life and be glad that you did.
"I heard on the radio that the sugar cane mulch makes the ground go sour after a while and the go now is bamboo mulch."
Personally I've never been a fan of sugar cane mulch. Not sure about pH changes but it is quite possible.
My fave, especially when I plant veggies, fruit trees or need to beef-up soil is lucerne.
Only use proper garden lucerne as it’s weed-free & it’s like fine chaff. It breaks down fast but as it comes from a legume it adds a lot of nitrogen back into the soil. Ideal for food crops.
If I’m rejuvenating really poor soil I’ll often add a layer of cow manure, a layer of lucerne and then regular mulch. Within a month of so the soil will be totally alive!