April in Your garden
Monday, 10 April 2017 | Alison
Wet, mild, sunny, snowy and cold, that was the March mish-mash of weather. So what does the weather hold for us gardeners in April, I wonder? April showers of course.
It doesn’t much matter though, because we keen gardeners will be in and out of the greenhouse or growhouse, sowing and checking seed growth or pricking out and potting on seedlings into individual pots or plant cell trays. You will also quite probably be receiving plug plant orders from us at the nursery and wondering where on earth you are going to put them all… www.brooksidenursery.co.uk in case you need to order more, tee hee….
I think April is so exciting in the garden, so here are my Top Ten Tips for Your Garden this month –
1. As fresh new growth of perennials can be seen shooting through the ground at a momentous rate, it is a good moment to stake or use circular plant rings for taller growing plants such as Sedums, Delphiniums, Foxgloves and Hollyhocks, as they will suddenly put on another growth spurt as temperatures warm up and it is more difficult to tame them.
2. Clean your greenhouse windows. Hmm…. I must admit to only getting around to giving my greenhouse a good spring clean last weekend. Gosh, it’s such a good thing to do. Very therapeutic too, emptying out the greenhouse completely, cleaning the glass inside and out, hosing it all down, clearing the guttering leading to the water butt and only putting back the things you need, not what you think you might need! A trip to the local tip is on my agenda now too.
3. If you grow tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, chillies, aubergines and other greenhouse crops, make sure you renew the compost, as last years will not have any nutrients left, and place pots or growbags in position. Open the greenhouse vents or windows on fine days to keep it well ventilated.
4. Rhubarb should be sprouting in your vegetable patch, so cut off any flowering stalks that appear. These will weaken the plant and take the goodness away from the edible stalks.
5. Dead head any faded daffodils and other spring flowers (that don’t spread by seed, or that you don’t want to spread). Snap off the flower head just below the bit where the seedpod will be beginning to form. You can also take off the stem as far as you can if you prefer. The leaves will absorb nutrients back into the bulbs in readiness for next year’s blooms.
6.Beetroot, Swiss chard, Spinach and Carrots can all be sown now straight into the ground. Prepare the area first and space the seeds about 3cm apart. This makes it easier to thin them out later on. If you have bought your seeds from our nursery then follow the instructions on the packets.
7.It is time to mow your lawn, if you haven’t done so already. If you have an established lawn it will benefit from a spring feed, using one with moss killer incorporated into it if you have a problem with moss. Lawns can often be neglected but the grass needs feeding too, not just the flower borders.
8.Our garden wildlife like hedgehogs and bats are coming out of hibernation this month so keep an eye open for them. If you have space, consider getting a box for bats to nest in. The boxes need to be sited in a south facing direction or sunny spot. The added bonus, apart from seeing these amazing creatures in your garden at dusk, is that they will eat copious amounts of annoying evening midges whilst you are trying to relax and enjoy your gin & tonic!
9.Feed shrubs in the borders and in pots with a good balanced fertiliser. This will help encourage good display for this season. Using specific feeds for individual plants will give them the correct nutrients needed. Chempak Ericaceous feed is ideal for Pieris, Camellias and heathers. http://www.brooksidenursery.co.uk/CHE750.html.
10. Lastly, have a look at your houseplants. Do they need some TLC? If you turn them out of the pot and the roots are intertwined and poking through the bottom of the pot it is time to repot them with fresh compost, in a pot one or two sizes bigger. Plant at the same soil level and water in well. Feed regularly throughout the season. Some houseplants will love going out onto a patio or shady sheltered spot in the summer months but check first to which conditions suit your plant and wait until June in most parts of the UK.
Have fun and enjoy your garden!