March

As winter begins to recede, sowing and planting outdoors can start. Probably the most useful thing you can do this month is begin preparing beds for sowing and planting. Remove any weeds that have survived the winter, rake the soil thoroughly and apply some fertilizer.

Cover rhubarb crowns to “force” them and harvest your first rhubarb of the year

Plant first early potatoes, (Potatoes – you should be able to start to plant them out now – you must be aware of frost – they will knock them back so keep earthing up). shallots and garlic by the end of the month

Bare-root fruit trees and bushes should be planted by now

Finish winter pruning gooseberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and autumn raspberries (Cut back autumn raspberries to the ground)

Asparagus – it is possible to grow from seed but much easier to buy ready-to-plant rootstocks. plant them in pre-prepared trenches

Aubergines, chillies and peppers – these are all summer fruiting vegetables and need as long as possible to ripen. Get ahead by sowing seeds indoors this month

Broccoli, cabbages and other brassicas – sow brussels outdoors, any early summer cauliflowers raised from seeds indoors could be planted out now, but may still need protection under cloches

Herbs – towards the end of the month sow seeds of chives, coriander, dill, fennel, oregano and parsley

Root and stem vegetables – carrots and turnips can be sown outdoors but under cloches or frames

Strawberries – plant out cold-stored runners as soon as they become available

It should be safe to plant parsnip seeds

Start successional sowing of chard, beetroot and spinach

Plant strawberries and raspberries

If you’ve sown early lettuce, they probably need thinning now

Lift all remaining leeks from last year to give you time to dig over the land for new planting

Plant sunflower seeds in pots in your cold frame

Sow cauliflower, summer cabbage and sprouts for summer transplanting

If warm enough, sow leeks in a seed bed or in pots

Dig, dig, dig to get your plot ready for spring planting