March is the month where all gardeners come out of their hibernation and seed catalogue browsing to finally get back to gardening outside.
Watch your grass : In the dead of winter, everything slows down in the garden. Grass is your sign to get started again: it will start growing again from 6 degrees celsius, which is when you can start sowing early spring crop.
Sow sow sow: Early spring is prime time for cool weather leaves. Plant successions of mustard leaves, spinach, mizuna and land cress outside under cover to add to your salads and stir fry.
Get some dirt on: In spring, use a layer of your compost to warm up your soil (it’s nice and dark) and as a medium to transplant your seedlings. Don’t forget to add a layer of bark or wood chip mulch to the base of all of your fruit trees and bushes.\
Start with the fruits: Sow your tomatoes and peppers inside in the warmth nice and early (around February - March). By May, when when the time comes to transplant them in the ground, they will be strong and well ahead, ensuring a nice crop. I like ‘black russian’ cherry tomato and ‘Lemon Drop’ chilli for its citrusy kick flavour.
Feed the bees: Bumblebees will start visiting flowers very early in the year, and they need all the pollen and nectar they can get. You can help them by planting early flowering plants like winter aconite and hellebores, and by letting your cabbages and kale go to flower.
Focus on the soil: For soil health, it’s better to plant different families of fruits and vegetables after each other. You can be a strict or loose as you want, just make sure you don’t plant the same plant in the same spot year after year.
Plant onion sets: Plant onion sets (small onions) 5-10cm apart in rows 25cm apart in March. Gently push the sets into soft, well-worked soil so that the tip is just showing, and firm the soil around them. I like 'Senshyu Yellow' and 'Hyred' as they are both tough and productive cultivar (my 2017 harvest below).
Tip of the month: 'have I sown leek or onions here...?' wondered the gardeners as long thin leaves started poking out of the ground. Tubular leaves = onions, flat leaves= garlic or leeks. You can eat garlic leaves, they are delicious in stir fry and omelettes.