As we move from one season to the next, this month is all about that change: Harvesting the last of summer crops, and preparing for autumn and winter.
Key points for this month:
- Plant now for a display of spring flowering bulbs. March is the best month for selecting and planting spring bulbs.
- Start planting your vegetable garden for harvesting in the winter.
- Continue to harvest late fruiting crops.
- For colour during the winter months sow seeds of winter annuals.
- Re-plant pots with new seasons annuals.
- March is the best time for lawn maintenance and preparing to sow seed.
- Start planning your landscaping project, now is the time to plant trees and shrubs.
- Tidy up and cut back summer flowering perennials and shrubs.
Keep on top of watering if the weather is still dry.
Prepare empty spaces for new crops by turning over the soil and adding compost and sheep pellets. Blood and Bone can be worked in to the top layer before you plant.
Plant lupin, mustard or oats for green manure if you are leaving the garden empty for a season.
Sow seeds: carrots, parsnips, kohlrabi, radish, leeks, spinach, silverbeet, beetroot, broccoli, onions, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. Transplant to the garden when they are showing at least two sets of true leaves.
Plant seedlings: cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beetroot, silver beet, kale, radish.
Salad greens can still be planted in warmer regions.
Onions can be planted now; they can go in the same place year after year.
Plant peas and snow peas before autumn sets in, the seeds can be planted straight in to the ground.
Early sowing of broad beans in cooler regions, they can be planted straight in to the ground. Pinch out the first flowers to encourage more.
Harvest basil and coriander before the weather cools then remove and compost plants.
Finish the harvest on your potatoes, onions and kumara. Store in a cool, dry place.
Harvest pumpkins when the vine dies away and the stems become shrunken and dried up. Leave some of the stem on when you pick. Store in a dry place until needed.
Continue harvesting pip and stone fruit. Rake up and compost all the fallen fruit.
Harvest tamarillos before the frosts arrive.
Continue to harvest feijoas and kiwifruit.
Finish harvesting passionfruit. Then prune back, feed with citrus fertiliser and water this in to the soil. Spray with Copper Oxychloride and a Pyrethrum spray to take care of passion vine hoppers, mealy bug and brown spot.
Continue to feed vegetable crops with a general purpose liquid fertiliser.
Finish tidying strawberry beds, remove old or diseased plants. Cut off runners unless you are using them for next season’s plants.
Feed citrus with citrus fertiliser, water well as the fruit starts to develop.
Spray citrus with spraying oil and Copper Oxychloride to protect against scale and verrucosis.
Continue planting bulbs, daffodils, tulips, ranunculus, anemone, grape hyacinth, iris, hyacinths, and freesias. In the garden or in containers, feed bulbs with bulb food at the time of planting.
Sow seeds: alyssum, cineraria, calendula, carnation, cornflower, cyclamen, dianthus, flowering kale, lobelia, pansies, poppies, polyanthus, primula, snapdragon, sweet william. Transplant to the garden as the weather warms and when they are showing at least two sets of true leaves.
Plant seedlings: alyssum, carnations, pansies, cornflower, gazanias, lobelia, violas.
Encourage earlier and better flowers by pinching out the first flowers on your annuals.
Feed all annual flowers with a liquid flower food, apply with a watering can.
Plant sweet peas now for winter colour. In warmer areas plant straight in to the soil, in cooler regions start in pots or trays.
As perennials die away prune back the old growth and if you need to divide them this can be done now – once divided plant them straight away.
Refresh pots with new season annuals.
Trees and Shrubs
Prepare for autumn planting, the cooler weather brings a little more rain and the soil is workable again after the dry summer.
Prune spent flowers and straggly growth.
Remove and replace any old bushes and refresh the soil with compost before replanting.
Summer mulch can be dug in to the soil to add extra nutrients.
Start preparation for re-sowing lawns. Spray weed killer to remove weeds, wait at least three weeks after spraying before sowing new seed.
Fix any lumps, hollows or bare patches.
Re-sow lawn seed when ready and water daily until fully germinated.