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April In Your Garden

1st of April 2014

After all the wet weather the gardens are drying out at last. The clocks have changed, Easter is coming and now is the time to do the seeding and planting, weeding and feeding, and the tidying and trimming.

Vegetables and fruit.
Sow broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peas and leeks. Rootcrops , such as carrots and parsnips, are sown on ground which has not been manured. Sow also turnips and swede. Carry on planting potatoes and earth up the rows as they grow. Get the herb garden established and make successional sowings of salads such as radish and lettuce It is now too late to plant bare root raspberries but container grown soft fruit, strawberries and rhubarb can be planted. Carry on with hoeing to keep weeds down and protect flowers on fruit trees if we shoud get a sudden late frost.

Flowers and shrubs.
Prune the roses and spray with something like Roseclear to keep black spot, rust and mildew away. Feed the roses and shrubs with Toprose fertiliser and use an ericaceous feed on azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. As soon as forsythias have flowered they will need to be pruned. Once daffodils have flowered they should be dead headed and fed but the leaves must be left until they die down on their own. Plant hardy bedding plants such as bellis, antirrhinums, pansies and violas but leave the tender plants until well into May. Plant new perennials and lift and divide old plants and provide supports for the taller growing plants.

The greenhouse.
Sow the rest of the bedding plants and pot up the plug plants. Sow the less hardy vegetables, such as tomatoes, marrows, courgettes, peppers and runner beans so that the plants will be ready for planting outside towards the end of May. Tomatoes and cucumbers that are to be grown in the greenhouse should be planted without delay. Visit the garden centre to find the amazing selection of plants that can be used in hanging baskets and containers and plant up your baskets in the greenhouse now so that they can get well established before putting outside. Use Swell-gel in the compost to help retain moisture.

Lawn and garden.
Mow the grass regularly but never cut too short, particularly in dry weather. Apply a good fertilizer, plus weedkiller and mosskiller. Now is a good time to turf new grass areas or to sow grass seed. Use a lawn sprinkler on new grass areas and then put it away. Once established lawns do not need to be watered so that the grass is encouraged to send its roots well down into the soil. Carry on tidying up the garden and putting as much old plant materials on to the compost heap.

Garden events.
Sarratt have their Spring Flower show on 5 April and Bovingdon have theirs on 12 April. The Royal Horticultural Society will hold their Flower Show at Cardiff from 11 – 13 April; the London Orchid Show on 11 and 12 April; the London Alpine Garden Show on 27 April; the Malvern Spring Festival from 8 – 11 May; the Chelsea Flower Show from 20 – 24 May. For tickets and information go to rhs.org.uk/shows
or ring 0844 338 7539.
Terry Simmonds

 
This page is edited by Tony

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