March 2014-04-13T18:55:44+00:00

vegetable-heartIts that time of the year when our garden and neighbourhoods become ablaze with gorgeous golden glows of autumn oranges, reds, yellows, burgandy and a multitdue of bold and exciting shades



Remove faded flowers and water regularly in dry weather. In summer rainfall areas, put out snail bait in the late afternoon after rain or watering.



If these are sown now the seedlings will stand through the winter and start flowering early next summer:


Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)


Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Daucus Carota var. carota (Queen Anne’s Lace)

Delphinium grandiflorum (butterfly delphinium)

Dianthus (pinks)

Digitalis purpurea (foxglove)

Iberis umbellata (candytuft)

Malcolmia maritima (Virginian stocks)

Petunia x hybrida

Phlox drummondii

Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium)

Verbena x hybrida



Prick out or transplant Primula malacoides (fairy primula) and ornamental kale seedlings.


Sweet peas: Prepare trenches for sweet peas. Dig a trench about 40cm wide and 60cm deep, keeping the bottom soil on one side. Break up the soil at the base of the trench and return the bottom soil well mixed with compost. Do this with the topsoil as well. Remember to compost well. This should be done a month before you sow the seeds. A week before sowing, lightly sprinkle with lime and rake it into the top layer of soil. Now you should prepare your support systems.


In summer rainfall areas, sow the following:


Papaver nudicaule (Iceland poppy)

Viola x wittrockiana (pansy)

Viola cornuta (viola)



Acanthus: Cut foliage and old flowering stems down to ground level. Mulch with compost and scatter 60g of 2:3:2 round the root area and water in.


Chrysanthemums: Scatter a tablespoon of 2:3:2 round each clump once a month, or feed with Multifeed P, Nitrosol or lush every two weeks at the rate recommended on the container. Tie the plants to their stakes.


Delphiniums (crowns and seedlings planted in autumn): Water copiously, protect from slugs and snails, and tie new flower stems to stakes where necessary.


Pelargoniums (geraniums): Feed with 2:3:2 once a month. Give plants growing in the open about a tablespoon scattered over the root area and those in pots a teaspoon scattered over the soil. Water in immediately.



Agapanthus: Water abundantly in dry weather.


Amaryllis belladonna: If the plant shave become overcrowded, lift, divide and replant the bulbs, with the neck of the bulb just below the surface of the soil. In the winter rainfall areas, wait until April and lift after flowering.


Cannas: Water during dry weather, and scatter 60g of 2:3:2 round each clump once a month. Water in after application. Remove old flower stems by gripping them firmly at the base and giving them a sharp twist.


Dahlias: Water during dry weather, and feed every two weeks with a soluble fertiliser. Disbud by removing all but one bud on each stem. Tie the plants to stakes and watch for red spider.


Gladioli: Water regularly and spray one a week against thrips and gladiolus fly, and spray for rust if necessary. Lift those, which are dying back.


Irises: Finish lifting and dividing the clumps this month.


Liliums: As the blooms fade, remove the seed heads (unless the seed is to be saved), cutting them off with the minimum amount of stem. Give each clump a tablespoon of 3:1:5. Dissolve this in 5L of water; apply to the root area and water in. Keep the ground well mulched with compost.


White evergreen arum lilies: If the plants are overcrowded and the flowers deteriorating they can be lifted and divided this month. Cut some of the older leaves off, then replant the tuber-like rhizomes in the soil enriched with compost and dressing of superphosphate.



Half-ripe cuttings of all shrubs can be taken this month.


Azaleas: Water regularly and hose down the foliage. Take half-ripe cuttings of the new growth that was sent out in spring.


Camellias: Mulch the ground under the bushes with acid compost and/or bark (obtainable from your nursery) and, from now on, water once a week if the weather is dry. This is important for bud development. It is the ideal time to take half-ripe cuttings of the new wood that was sent out in spring.


Cotton lavender: Prune lightly after the shrub has flowered.


Hydrangeas: Remove faded flowers unless they are required for flower arrangements. Give each bush 30g of 2:3:2 and mulch with compost or peat. Water two or three times a week, hosing down the foliage. Watch for red spider.


Roses: Continue preventive spraying against black spot, rusts and mildew. Give each bush a tablespoon of 2:3:2 scattered over the root area. Renew the mulch of compost on the beds, and water well once a week if the weather is dry.



Feed with 2:3:2 once during the month at the rate of 60g per square metre. Scatter this over the grass when it is dry, and water in immediately after application. Mow regularly, and water during dry weather, doing this in the morning.



Citrus: Water every three weeks during dry weather.


Grapes: Spray for mildew if necessary. Grapes never ripen once they have been picked, so always sample a berry or two before cutting a bunch.


Guavas: Water thoroughly every two weeks during dry weather.


Mangoes: Apply 2kg of 3:1:5, scattering this over the root area, starting at least 10cm away from the trunks of the trees and going out to just beyond the drip line of the branches.


Mulberries: Water once during the month if the weather is exceptionally dry.


Pawpaws: Water every two weeks during dry weather.


Strawberries: Water once a week during dry weather.



These vegetables can be grown in the various regions this month:






Dwarf bean


Globe artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke




Swede turnip

Swiss chard