March, is it late Summer or early Autumn?

For me it is both, the Dahlias are in full bloom and the early flowering chrysanthemums are also at their best, along with many Autumn flowering perennials all remind me that Summer is coming to an end.

This month is all about harvesting fruit and many of our vegetables. To store fruit over the next few months only choose the very best sound fruit that is free of pests, diseases and damage. The other fruit can be cooked and frozen to be used later.

Harvest pumpkins when the fruit are fully mature, cut them and leave them in the garden for a few days until the cut stem is dry. I like to store them on their side so that the top and the base are kept dry during storage.

As many of the Summer crops finish get them out of the ground and clean up the soil of any weeds. If the ground is not needed over Winter sow a green crop to improve the soil.

Compost crop residue if you are able to make compost that can be used to improve the organic matter in the garden next season.

Winter vegetable crops need to be planted so that they are well established before the colder Winter weather in May.

Lawns will respond to some maintenance now, treat for weeds, apply fertiliser, treat for grass grub and de- thatch - now that the days are getting cooler the grass grows faster.

Summer flowers will carry on flowering but need to be de-headed to encourage continual flowering.

Autumn is considered a good time to plant bulbs, trees and shrubs. Although this month may be a little early, it is good to prepare the ground in advance for the planting season.Remove any diseased plants including trees, shrubs and perennials  so that they can be replaced with new healthy plants. In my experience poor plants do not recover over the Winter.

Many of the Sumer perennials that have finished flowering may be lifted and divided later in the month. I usually pot up these divisions into a good potting mix to over Winter them and replant in the Spring once they have made good new roots and stems.

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk or you can email Michael directly at:

Enjoy the Harvest, Michael Coulter

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