March is a busy time in the garden here in the UK. Temperatures are going up, and more seeds can be sown. It is important not to rush to sow your seeds unless you can protect them from the frost that can still hit the UK until the end of May. All of the seeds which could be sown in February are suitable for sowing in March with a few additions such as summer cabbage and chard.
5 Seeds to Sow in March
The following 5 seeds are ideal for sowing right now in March, here in the UK:
- Lettuce – many varieties of lettuce can be sown in March. I tend to grow “cut and grow again” varieties to help save space, and sowing in March will give me a tremendous early supply of lettuce leaves for a spring salad. It is also worth starting other varieties of lettuce early to commence sequential sowing, so you have a constant supply of lettuce throughout the spring and summer.
- Carrots – Carrots can be sown directly into the ground where they will grow. Most carrot varieties prefer not to be transplanted, although this can be done with success.
- Summer Cabbage – Cabbage has always been an autumn and winter food for me, but there are summer varieties that can be sown in March.
- Spring Onions – Another favourite of mine to add to a spring salad. Spring onions add both texture and taste to potentially bland salads without the need to add any dressing. Sow now to get a crop to go with your lettuce later in the year.
- Chard – Chard can also be sown in March, adding both colour and flavour to spring and summer salads. I have found chard to taste better when their young leaves are used. Their leaves will regrow after being harvested, so you don’t need too many plants to have an adequate supply throughout the year.
If you are looking for more ideas of what seeds to sow in March in the UK, seeds that could be sown undercover in February can still be sown now. I have a list of seeds to sow in February here on the blog.
Sowing in March
Sowing seeds in March still requires care and attention. Temperatures range from freezing up to the mid-teens. Many seeds benefit from being sown in a space protected from frosts, such as a cold frame, propagator or greenhouse. With such large swings in temperature, the compost can easily dry out; so, you will need to regularly check up on your seeds and seedlings to keep them watered.
Heated propagation benches can help keep soil temperatures stable and encourage earlier germination. If you use a heated propagation bench, take the seedlings off the bench once they have germinated to stop them from growing too fast and becoming “leggy”.
If you are sowing directly where seeds will grow into mature plants, it is worth protecting them from animals and frost. I choose to cover areas I have sown with netting to keep cats and birds off my seedbed if protecting seedlings from frost is not required. I also use grow tunnels which help prevent animals from digging up the seeds and protects the seedlings from frost.
How much to sow?
Most seed packages come with more seeds than most people need. It is worth thinking about how much vegetables you eat and how often you eat them. Some vegetables can be stored, others need to be eaten when they are ready, and a glut of produce can create waste. I try to sow in small batches for vegetables that do not store well using the sequential sowing technique. This way, you will have a regular supply of mature plants to harvest.
Sowing a few more seeds than need is also worth doing as not all seeds will germinate, and some seedlings may die or not turn into strong plants. Be prepared to thin out seeds that have been sown in a run and to get rid of seedlings that do not look strong as they grow. This way, you will get better plants and better quality produce.