March is the harvest month and preparation for the coming  Winter means that this is a very busy time in the garden.

We are still very short of rain and we now have watering restrictions but if we manage our allowance this will have little effect on our plants and lawns.

Watering the plants and lawns well and deep rather than a light sprinkle will be much more effective and will also mean that all the garden may not need to be watered each allowable day.

I have filled a large barrel with water on one of my water days to keep as a reserve so that any plants in containers that are in need of extra water on my off day can still be given water.

Pip fruit and stone fruit are all ripening ready for harvest I like to pick the fruit in the morning before it gets too hot and the fruit is cool as this helps the fruit keep better.

Vegetables are in full production so any excess may be frozen, but remember to use only the best for this.

The lower leaves on tomatoes should be removed to help ripen the fruit. Look out for the Diamond back moth caterpillars that are about now and will eat the fruit.

Water the vegetable garden well to keep them growing as any check will reduce the crop in the Winter when they do not grow as fast.

Very dry lawns may be better left until we get cooler weather and morning dews before trying to rejuvenate them.

In the flower garden the main tasks are de-heading, staking up taller perennials, weeding and treating for pests and diseases. Seeds of some of the Spring flowering annuals, pansies, violas, primulas, stocks etc. can now be sown.

Michael Coulter

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