Monthly Archives: March 2012

  • March and there is still much to do

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online
    The sun is out , the sky is blue, there’s not a cloud to spoil the view, it’s time to get going as there’s so much to do!


    1. Rotovate
      Feel the motivation and do the rotovation, the softer and smaller your soil the better your plants will grow in it, especially if you are planting seeds in directly. Make it easy for them
    2. Sow
      Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online
      Sow seeds like mad, there are so many to be had! Choose what you have space for, don’t go too wild, but if you do like me you can always swap them with friends or give them away to inferior gardeners. I planted out in rootrainers some globe artichokes and now have a very successful crop of around 30 plants, where am I going to find a space for 20 of those, each one grows into a sort of bush and if I remember correctly they need at least 1m sq each!
    3. Pruning
      All roses could do with a prune, cut back each bush by about a third, take it to the shape that you would like it, cut just above a bud. Roses can be very hardy shrubs, you can hardly go wrong, I once used a chain saw to prune as an experiment, it was quick and easy and had great results. (Don’t tell the Royal Horticultural Society.)
    4. Planting out
      Gardening Jobs in March
      Be wary of what you plant out there are still frosts, if you are going to plant out your vegetables, use poly tunnels or cloches. Some plants are hardy, you can plant out peas, sweet peas, strawberries and rhubarb plants. Be safe rather than sorry. Use cloches. Read more about Planting out
  • Jobs for the beginning of Spring

    Is the 21st March the Official First Day of Spring?

    Jobs for Spring with HaxnicksSpring is definitely here, the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips are in full flow. The smell of freshly cut lawn is telling us to do the same and it is dry enough to do so. So out we must go.

    Job list

    1. Put manure on the vegetable patch if you haven’t already done so.
    Put manure onto the bases of your young trees. Don’t forget that the manure must have be well rotted.

    2. If you have a fig tree now is the time to prune it. The fruit for this year at the moment are little pea sized things so don’t cut the branches off that have these on. Cut any dead, damaged or diseased branches. Cut any shoots that are coming from the base of the tree.

    3. Carry on sowing seeds, this goes on for months, I sow about 3-4 packets a week at the moment. Seed trays and rootrainers are all over the windowsills of my house and in the greenhouse. In about another months time I shall be able to start planting things straight out into the garden. This can be done earlier if you have tunnels or some sort of frost protection.

    4. Some plants such as the tomatoes can already be moved from their seed trays into individual pots, this will enable them to grow bigger sooner. ‘Move them on’ At the moment it is all a question of juggling space until it gets warmer and the last of the frosts have been.

    Remember to 'subscribe' to the blog if you want to stay up to date with Madeleine's gardening tips.

  • What to do in the garden this week - Mid March

    Blog post by Madeleine

    Things are Beginning to Happen in the Garden...

    Here in Dorset we have just had a glorious weekend and doing any kind of gardening meant having a purpose to be outside fiddling about.
    Lawn mowing season has just about arrived, so neatening up the garden is now possible. This always makes the garden look as though it has been hoovered!

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online
    Broad beans in tunnel to protect

    Job List

    1. Sow more seeds. 

    Sow lettuces and rocket every other week.  Only sow about 15 seeds at a time.  The packets contain hundreds but don’t use them all up at once! This is called staggered sowing.

    Sow flower seeds, marigolds, nasturtiums, sunflowers.  We are holding a family competition on who can grow the tallest and best.

    Lupines, delphiniums, aquilegia’s – all cost a fortune in garden centres and don’t take long to grow at all.  I also find them easy to grow.

    Sow peas and beans, this may seem a little early, but I am going to have two batches, you can wait a few more weeks for these.

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online
    Tomato seedling ready to be moved

    2.Transplant your broad beans out into the vegetable patch, but only if you have a small poly tunnel in which to cover them.  A frost could kill them. If you sowed sweet peas last Autumn they should be also ready to be planted out, try to keep these covered too with maybe some kind of cloche or solar bell. If your tomatoes are large enough, you may feel that they are ready to be transplanted from their seed trays into larger pots and put into a greenhouse/on windowsills. Mine are getting large and leggy, so I will. Use ordinary compost with a 1/8th mix of sand to help with retaining water.
    3. Dig or rotavate beds to get ready for planting out your potatoes.

     As ever, please use the comments section below to ask Madeleine any questions.

  • How to get an Allotment

    Is an allotment for you? Whether it's the government's urgings for us to all eat more fresh fruit and veg and get more exercise, a growing awareness that the taste of supermarket-bought products cannot compare with that of just-picked, home-grown produce, or there's something in the soil, more and more of us want to join the grow-your-own club. But if you don't have a garden, where do you grow? There hasn't been such a demand for allotments since the days of Victory Gardens in and just after WWII. So how do you go about getting one?

    The first step is to contact your local council. The majority of allotments are run by the local authority, which allocates plots and manages the waiting list. They should provide a list of sites and an idea of how long the waiting list is - for believe me, you will almost certainly have to wait. Some urban sites have so many people wanting for a plot that by the time you are offered a few poles (a standard, full allotment being 10 poles, or around 6 x 60 metres), you'll be tottering around with a Zimmer frame as you water the tomatoes.

    A standard, full allotment = 10 poles, or around 6 x 60 metres

    Some councils will refer you to a neighbouring local authority which has more sites. Others will provide contact details of chairmen or secretaries of allotment associations (for nearly all allotments are an association or a society) which allocate plots themselves.

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    Ways around it

    But if the waiting list is too long and you want to get digging,.. There are a few other things you can do.  Contact some secretaries of nearby allotment sites and ask if they knew of any plot-holder who is finding it difficult to keep up.  it often happens due to age or infirmity.  Offer to help in return for a share of the crop. The person you help will be eternally grateful, because anyone who does not keep their plot up to scratch will almost certainly be asked to leave. Age Concern has initiated a similar scheme matching would-be grow-your-owners with elderly people who can't manage their gardens, which could be the next best thing to an allotment.

    Age Concern has initiated a scheme matching would-be grow-your-owners with elderly people who can't manage their gardens

    An awful lot of community growing initiatives are springing up around the country, too. The council should know of any in your area. These usually involve shared growing spaces on derelict or otherwise unused land; everyone working the 'plot' shares the results. It's not the same as an allotment.  But it will give you a chance to learn a little about growing your own.  It will also let you find out if you actually like it.

    And the time waiting for your own plot can be well-spent learning as much as you can about successful home growing.  From books, television shows, Gardener's Question Time and magazines, not least Your Allotment!

    Marcia MacLeod is the, Editor for 'Your Allotment' Magazine.  Your Allotment covers allotments in north London, but offers practical advice and information for allotmenteers everywhere. Check out for more details.

4 Item(s)