What's in season: March

 A walled garden at Nostell Priory and Parkland, West Yorkshire

Allotments are stirring with life, the last of the winter veg is being pulled from the soil and the fruit trees are starting to blossom. March is an inspirational month for many growers and gardeners, who welcome the longer days and turn their thoughts to planting and new growth.

To help you make the most of the season, we've asked our gardeners and chefs to share their tips and favourite recipes.

After a long winter, you're probably longing to get back out in the garden. While there are lots of jobs to be done, it pays to be patient when it comes to sowing seeds because of the unpredictable weather we often get at this time of year. 

If the soil is warm and not too wet, you can start sowing early vegetables, including broad beans, sprouts, cabbages, onions, early potatoes, early carrots and spinach. You may also have some winter veg to harvest. Leeks, cauliflower and kale are just some of what can be gathered at this time of year. It's also worth turning over your compost heap and keeping on top of weeding.

Vegetables to harvest and buy 

  • Leeks
  • Kale
  • Rhubarb (forced)
  • Cauliflower
  • Savoy cabbage 
  • Spring green cabbage

What to grow and harvest

Growing mushrooms

Growing mushrooms is complicated, so our gardeners suggest starting off indoors using a kit.

  • You'll find kits to grow many different mushrooms of a variety of flavours and textures.
  • Mushroom kits are either boxes containing a suitable compost or logs inoculated with spores.
  • Oyster mushrooms, often used in Asian cooking, grow from the side of the box to mimic upright tree trunks. 
  • Most kits will produce mushrooms within two to four weeks.
  • Once activated, kits need little attention apart from the occasional spray of water. 
  • Some kinds of mushrooms like morels can be dried after harvesting to save for later use.
Volunteer pruning a tree in the garden at Rainham Hall, London

Gardening tips: from our garden to yours 

Looking after more than 200 gardens has taught us a thing or two. Here, our gardeners share some of their top tips so that you too can create your perfect garden.

This month it's all about parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a member of the carrot family and native to the Mediterranean region. The cultivation and use of parsley as a herb goes back into the mists of time but it's known to have been popular with the Romans and Greeks.

Like other useful plants, parsley spread around the world with the movement of people, and it’s now used in a wide range of cuisines as a garnish or to add flavour.

Parsley can easily be grown in the garden and should be sown from March onwards. It can be planted two or three times during spring to give a long run of fresh young leaves. The seed can take up to 30 days to germinate, so some people prefer to buy and plant potted plants. 

Parsley is a biennial, which means it has a two-year life cycle. In the first season, it grows and produces lots of useful leaves, and in the second, it flowers, seeds and dies. Parsely is wonderfully hardy and can be harvested right through the first winter, although it won’t grow during the coldest months. The two main types of parsley are curly and flat-leaved varieties. The latter is popular for its strong flavour. 

Dishes for March