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How to Start a Kitchen Garden: what to do in March for a Delicious Vegetable Garden

Now is a great time to plant root vegetables and alliums in your Kitchen Garden

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By House & Garden | March 4, 2024 | Gardens

In a new series, House & Garden UK garden editor Clare Foster lays out a month by month guide to getting a kitchen garden off the ground. In this third instalment, follow her as she starts the seed sowing process.

This is a purposeful moment in the vegetable garden. Spring is in the air and I’m gearing up for the busiest time of year. You can start sowing hardy crops such as broad beans, chard, beetroot, lettuce and carrots. But the weather and soil can still be cold in March, so only sow seeds outdoors if you are feeling confident it is warm enough. Alternatively – and, I think, preferably – you can start sowing these crops under cover, either germinating them indoors and growing them on in a cold frame, or in a greenhouse. Sowing seeds in trays and modules gives you more control, as you can plant them out as seedlings rather than taking the risk of leaving them to germinate in the ground. A compromise is to sow seeds in raised troughs, where the soil will be warmer and you can cover them with cloches or panes of glass to protect them further. However, onion sets and garlic can be planted straight out in the garden now.

March is the traditional time to plant seed potatoes. In an ideal world, I would go for first earlies and maincrop potatoes, which will be ready at different times. However, I don’t have much room for potatoes, so tend to choose a first-early variety, which will be ready to harvest 10-12 weeks after planting, and devote the bed to beans or pumpkins afterwards. ‘Winston’, ‘Swift’ and ‘Lady Christl’ are all reliable, tasty varieties to try and there is nothing better than foraging around in the earth to find those small, sweet tubers, which will go straight from plot to pan. Towards the end of the month, you can plant bare-root strawberries, which are available to buy as cold-stored runners from March to June from Pomona Fruits. Strawberries often run out of steam after three or four years, so replacing them with new plants will increase fruit yields. They need a sunny, sheltered spot and should be planted 30cm apart into a rich soil.

Sow handy: Useful Gardening Kits for All