“I love spring. Lawn grass is growing, spring bulbs are flowering, growth buds are swelling and our native wild birds are busy building this year’s nurseries.”Paraic
Ah spring, such an exciting time of year! Vibrant daffodils are dancing in the wind and lambs are frolicking in the fields. We are greeted with light in the morning and the evenings are stretching into the night. Our days are once again filled with opportunity. What does this mean for us gardeners? It means that spring has blessed us with a precious gift. The gift of time.
So how do we use this time effectively? Here I will give you some of my top recommendations for making the most of your garden in March.
After a long Winter our lawns need some TLC. Thankfully, you can have a lush green lawn in just three simple steps. Through following these steps, your lawn will be looking its dazzling green self once again.
- Apply a dressing of Zero to treat lawn moss overnight.
- Two days after Zero is applied, use Zero Lawn Feed to feed and green your lawn.
- This step is optional. If you suffer from persistent lawn weeds, apply Greenforce Lawn Weedkiller one week after using Zero Lawn Feed ideally after the lawn weeds have finished flowering.
One of my favourite spring flowering plants is the Campanula Porto, also known as the Blue Bellflower. This low-growing flower blooms from March to early May. It’s very easy to grow as it grows in all soil types. Its ideal for planting in groups along borders and in raised flower beds. This blue beauty is a welcome addition to every spring garden.
Another stunning collection of spring flowers are the Alpine plants. They are a range of hardy, low-growing, creeping border flowers. Alpine plants flower every year and if planted in groups they create a beautiful cluster of long-lasting colour. These can grow in rockeries, borders and flower beds. Alpines are also ideal for planting in pots and containers. Some of my favourite plants in the Alpine collection include the Primula, Phlox, Dianthus and the Aubrieta. Alpines need very little care making them particularly useful in the garden, a sunny spot and free draining soil is the main requirement and they will give you enjoyment for years to come.
Sow and Grow
- Blueberries are a super-food linked with numerous health and wellness benefits. Thankfully, they’re also fun to grow and produce a fantastic crop of flavorsome juicy blue fruit. They’re also fantastic for adding vibrant and eye-catching colour to a garden. You can grow blueberries in pots and patio tubs. When planting, use compost and whilst growing, feed the plants with plant food. Blueberries fruit over a long period, meaning you will enjoy regular fruits from June to September.
- Pear and plum trees grow well and fruit reliably in Ireland. In order to achieve the best results, plant the trees now on a sunny, south facing wall or trellis. Train your fruit trees to act as a wall cover, the protection from the wall will help to ripen the fruit and encourage strong growth. The best plum variety I grow is called the Victoria – a tasty, juicy fruit produced in abundance from mid July.
- Rhubarb is an easy to grow and bountiful fruit. I recommend planting the Champagne variety now, which will be ready for consumption in early April to July. When planting, add some compost and a handful of Osmo Pro 6 fertiliser.
- Nothing beats the taste of homegrown, new potatoes. Eating those thin-skinned, balls of floury goodness is a highlight of the gardening year. My favourite variety of potato is the Irish variety Colleen. They are easy to grow, blight resistant and packed full of flavour. Start growing the Colleen potato now, in a pot or raised bed, for a crop of new potatoes come June. Read more about growing your own potatoes here.
- Do you want a quick and easy way to grow some of your 5 a day? Then choose a selection of the Speedy Veg & Salad seeds from Suttons. The Speedy Veg & Salad seeds offer you a range of edibles that can be harvested in as little as three weeks. If you have limited time, space or gardening skill then consider growing some micro-green seeds including micro broccoli, peas, cress and alfalfa. They can be grown indoors on a warm windowsill, and will provide you with tasty, nutrient-dense, ‘fast food’.
- Lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli plants are all available now for planting in your borders or grow bags. The variety of cabbage I recommend is the Hilton. It produces deep, green, cone shaped heads six weeks after planting. Plant every two weeks for regular pickings all summer long.
Look After Your Wild Birds
In March, our garden birds seek out nesting locations to rear their young. Help your garden song birds by adding a nesting box to your garden this spring. Erect your nesting box in a tree between north and east to avoid strong sunlight and wet winds. Read about the benefits of a wild bird presence in your garden here.
So make the most of the opportunities that spring has given us. Savour your day and savour your garden. Remember, the secret of getting ahead is getting started!
Not to be missed: Paraic will feature live on Virgin Media Ireland AM on Wednesday 6th and 27th March. He joins Pat Kenny on Newstalk FM after 11.30am on Wednesday 13th and 27th March. He is also back with his weekly gardening show on Midwest Radio, starting on Saturday 14th March from 9 -10am.
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