Get out and get busy
PUBLISHED: 07:07 31 March 2014
The variety of soil across our bountiful county means the gardeners of Breckland will face much different gardening challenges to those of the Broads. We have city gardeners in Norwich working miracles in tiny courtyard spots, and gardeners labouring on some of the largest, most majestic estates in the country from Felbrigg to Houghton. But all of them know that by March the outdoors is calling and it’s time to get outside and get - very - busy!
Whatever your garden size, style and state, channel your energy into jobs that will help to set the tone for the rest of the year:
1 Plant your summer flower bulbs, adding some compost and a little bonemeal to the soil.
2 Start weeding - it only takes the temperature to rise by a couple of degrees for the pesky weeds to make their return, so start early this year and keep your borders looking beautiful.
3 Time to sow for a tasty harvest - why not go for parsnips, carrots, broad beans, peas and onions this year? So many meals for such little effort! And don’t forget to put in your early potatoes too.
4 Refresh your pots with new soil to give plants the best chance of thriving.
5 Time to dust off that lawn mower - dry days signal the time to start mowing again.
6 Dig over and mulch the soil in your borders.
7 Use slug killer to protect the vulnerable spring shoots.
8 Set to work on removing the moss and weeds that have appeared in your paths and driveways.
9 Check your garden furniture - if it is looking a little worse for wear, use a run of dry days to rub it back and put on another layer of varnish.
10 Consider hiring a jet washer to give patios a really good deep clean for spring - it will look like new.
11 If you have a decking, check the boards are still firmly in place and use a wood treatment if necessary.
12 Take a look at your water butts, make sure they aren’t over flowing after all this rain. If they’re full it’s a sign that you could add and potentially link together more.
13 Start to plan your hanging baskets, where to put them and install the hooks ready.
14 If you have a greenhouse, sow cucumbers, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers.
15 Prune your rose bushes.
16 It has been a windy winter, so now’s the time to check trees for weak branches and make sure they are safe.
17 Clean any bird feeders and stock up on a good healthy mix of bird food ready for the spring.
18 Bare-root fruit trees and bushes need to be planted - next month it will be too late.
19 Make sure you finish pruning gooseberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and autumn raspberries.
20 If you are lucky enough to have some - now is the time to harvest your first rhubarb.
21 Cover areas of your vegetable patch with black or clear plastic sheeting to warm up the soil, in readiness for sowing some early salads in a few weeks.
22 Try growing garlic, now is the time and it is easy to do. Sets are available from most garden centres.
23 Carefully cut back the hedges in your garden before birds start to nest.
24 It is never too early to put supports, such as canes and frames, to make sure they are ready for when your plants suddenly start to grow. Think about the shapes you are hoping to see from your plants and get the support in place now.
25 Create a herb garden either in a flower bed or in a selection of pots. You only need a few small plants to get started. If you plan it well, it could add flavour to dishes throughout the summer and beyond, as well as adding colour and wonderful scents to your garden.