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Gardening In April

1st of April 2011

With the exception of tender annuals and perennials this is a good month for planting pot grown and container grown plants. Young plants benefit from early planting so that they have a long growing season in front of them.

Vegetables and fruit.
Sow carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips plus broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, peas and leeks. Make sure that root crops are not grown on soil that has recently been manured. Carry on planting seed potatoes and earth up as they grow. Sow salad crops such as lettuce and radish in succession and get a herb garden established as soon as possible. Rhubarb crowns can be planted now and strawberries and soft fruit, too. Protect the flowers on fruit trees should we get a severe late frost. Carry on with hoeing to keep the weeds down.

Flowers and shrubs.
Prune roses and start to spray against diseases such as black spot and mildew using something like Roseclear. Feed roses and shrubs with Toprose and use an ericaceous fertilizer on camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Prune early flowering shrubs like forsythia as soon as flowering is over. Daffodils should be deadheaded and a fertilizer given to help the leaves build up the bulb ready for next year. Hardy bedding plants such as bellis, antirrhinums, pansies and violas can be planted but leave planting tender plants until well into May. Plant summer flowering lillies, gladioli and nerine. Plant out new perennials and lift and divide old plants, staking the taller plants as necessary.

The greenhouse.
Pot up plug plants as soon as possible and sow the rest of the bedding plants. Tender vegetables such as tomatoes, courgettes, marrows, peppers and runner beans should be sown now so that they are ready for planting outside at the end of May. Plant up the cucumbers and tomatoes that are to be grown in the greenhouse. Hanging baskets should be planted using a good compost to which Swell-gel has been added to help retain moisture.

The lawn.
This is the time to apply a good fertilizer plus a weedkiller and mosskiller,if necessary. Mow the grass regularly but never cut too short, particularly in dry Did you know that an average well weather. April is a good month for putting down new turf or for sowing grass seed. Only use a lawn sprinkler on new lawns. Once established, grass should not be watered so that the grass will be encouraged to send its roots well down into the soil.

Garden events.
The Sarratt Spring Flower Show is on 2 April and Bovingdon have Allotment gardening and growing your theirs on 9 April. The R.H.S Show at Cardiff is from 8-10 April (tickets 0844 3387534, own vegetables is a very rewarding rhs.org.uk/cardiff). The Malvern Spring Show is from 12-15 May (tickets activity, combining gentle exercise in 01684584924, threecounties.co.uk/springgardening) and the R.H.S Chelsea Flower the fresh air with the satisfaction of Show is from 24-28 May (tickets 08443387534, rhs.org.uk/chelsea). All tickets for Chelsea and the first day of the Malvern show must be purchased in advance.
Terry Simmonds

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