posted by Malachi Chadwick

Planting:
what can I plant in March?

As part of our tips for planting month, we run through some of the tasty stuff you can start planting right now.

Plant asparagus in March and April. Photo: Esteban Cavrico

Asparagus

Plant
March–April. Plant ten one-year old crowns 15–20cm deep, 30cm apart in a single well-prepared row

Harvest
May–June

Likes
Very well-drained and slightly alkaline soil, clear of weeds, seaweed fertilizer

Dislikes
Cold and wet conditions, slugs

Varieties
Connover’s Colossal, Backlim, Gijnlim

Tips
Although slow to start, once established these perennial plants are trouble-free and last for up to twenty years. Parsley can be grown between crowns.

Broccoli

Sow
March–May (under cover for first month). Plant in 2–3 batches of 10–20 small plants, about 20–40cm apart (depends on variety) in rows

Harvest
June–October (Calabrese); January–April (purple sprouting)

Likes
Nitrogen-rich soil, sheltered site, lots of space (purple sprouting)

Dislikes
Slugs, snails, white fly – might need protecting from pests with netting

Varieties
Early Purple Sprouting Improved, Belstar (Calabrese)

Tips
Can suffer from disease “clubfoot”, which remains in soil for up to twenty years

 

Leeks

Sow
Grow small (15cm) plants from seed indoors, ready for planting out into deep, narrow holes in June; sow seeds outside in May with 10cm between plants.

Harvest
September–May

Likes
Sun, water

Varieties
Musselburgh (very hardy, dates back to 1834), Apollo

Tips
“Earth up” the emerging leek with soil to increase amount of white stem. Closer spacing of plants produces smaller leeks

Lettuce

Sow
Germinate seeds indoors for planting out February–September

Harvest
All year

Likes
Very rich soils with lots of nitrogen

Varieties
Cos: Corsair, Little Gem (takes over two months to develop a heart). Loose-leaved: Lollo Rosso, Lamb’s lettuce (small rounded green leaves), Catalogna (serrated leaves), Salad Bowl (green and dark red oak leaves)

Potatoes

Sow
Earlies March–May; maincrop mid to late April. Plant chitted potatoes 40cm apart into a 25cm deep, 30cm wide trench with dug-in manure at its base

Harvest
When flowers die down, the potatoes are ready to pick. Earlies: June–July. Maincrop: September (store over winter in a cool, dry environment)

Likes
Rich soil and potash (wood ash from stove or potash-rich comfrey); regular watering while flowering

Dislikes
Shade, frost, blight fungus

Varieties
First earlies: International Kidney (aka Jersey Royals). Second earlies: Kestrel or Wilja (high yield and good disease resistance); Charlotte (classic French salad potato). Maincrop: Belle de Fontenay (old French early main crop); Santé (excellent for organic growers as very resistant to pests and disease)

Tips
“Earthing up” the plants stops the tubers being ruined by sunlight and turning green. To do this, cover the plants with soil until only 10cm or so of foliage is visible. Expect to do this a few times each growing season

More on planting early potatoes

Rocket

Sow
All year round indoors; in summer outside

Harvest
All year, 3–4 weeks after sowing

Dislikes
Bolts (flowers) in hot weather

Varieties
Avanti

Tips
Very easy to grow; minimal pest problems

More on growing rocket

Spinach

Sow
Regular small sowings every three weeks from March–September

Harvest
April–November

Likes
Cool conditions

Varieties
Galaxy, Bloomsdale

Tips
Can bolt (flower) in hot weather. If you’re having problems try chard (also known as “perpetual spinach”) instead.

Tomatoes

Sow
Seeds (March–April) for planting out as small hardened-off plants (May/June)

Harvest
July–October

Likes
Fertile, well-drained soil, plant food and sun (a south-facing wall is perfect), regular light watering (to prevent splitting of skin)

Dislikes
Shade, white fly (plant marigolds to deter them)

Varieties
Alicante, Green Zebra (green/yellow stripes). Cherry: Cherry Belle, Sungold (yellow), Gardener’s Delight. Hanging baskets: Tumbler or Pearl; mix historic varieties

Tips
Keep plants focused on fruit (not leaf ) production: pinch off non-flowering sideshoots and the top of plant when fruiting. Green tomatoes make excellent chutney

Further reading

The ten easiest fruit and veg to grow

Expert advice on fruit and veg growing

March garden to-do list

Adapted from The Rough Guide to Green Living by 10:10’s resident carbon expert Duncan Clark.

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