March

This is the real start of the allotmenteer’s year. Start by raking over the plot to get the soil ready for planting – if it is too dry then water it, if it sticks to your boots then it needs to dry out a little more. The soil needs to be as stone-free and fine as possible.

This is a good time to apply fertilisers like seaweed, chicken manure or blood fish and bonemeal. The same fertilisers can be used to top-dress over-wintered crops like onions, kale, spring cabbages and cauliflowers.

Now is the time to start getting on top of any emerging weeds – the rising temperatures will allow them to germinate so dig out perennials like bindweed and cooch grass, and regularly hoe to kill off annual weeds.

Finish pruning gooseberries, blackcurrants and blueberries, prune autumn raspberry canes down as low as possible – new canes will start to emerge soon. Feed and mulch all fruit trees and bushes as they are coming out of dormancy and will have a growing spirt.

As soon as blossom starts to appear on cherry, apricot and peach trees these need protecting from any late frosts with fleece.