April Tips

Visit your local Spring Flower Show and join your local Horticultural Society or Garden Club

Just a few thoughts on what to do in the garden in the next few weeks:

Vegetables

  • Keep sowing hardy vegetable seeds and plants as the ground warms up.
  • Don’t forget to sow for succession.
  • Don’t plant too many of one crop, I find a dozen lettuce every two weeks works very well. Do you need 20 courgette plants – or would 2 or 3 suffice?
  • Take surplus plants to your local Horticultural Society meeting.
  • Plant potatoes – be prepared to protect the new growth from frost.
  • Control weeds when they are small, pick a dry day and just hose them off. They will just wither and die in the sunshine.
  • Tomatoes can go out into unheated greenhouses soon, but again be prepared to protect them from cold nights. Remember a temperature below about 5⁰C or 40⁰F will cause a lot of damage to tomatoes. Bubble wrap insulation helps and perhaps a coat of garden fleece if you have no heat.

Flowers

  • Finish pruning your roses now
  • Prune Camellias after flowering – just a light prune
  • Dahlia tubers will be making growth if given some heat

To prepare Dahlia tubers:

  1. Tidy up the tubers so that they take up less space
  2. Cover them with potting compost and water them in – don’t forget to label them!
  3. Keep in a cool greenhouse minimum 40⁰
  4. Growth will soon start

 

  • Hosters need special attention or slugs ravage them – treat against slugs even if they are not visible yet.
  • Sweetpeas can be planted out now – the showmen would have planted theirs in March. If you haven’t sown them yet, you can save some time by buying a few pots from the garden centre. Single the plants up and pot into 3” pots. Let them get going a bit then pinch out the growing tip, they then produce good side shoots, select the strongest one or perhaps two to be the new leaders – these are much stronger than the original leader and will produce better flowers.
  • Plant out when they are growing well and grow on a wigwam or frame of some sort. If you pinch out side shoots, tendrils and flowers with less than three flowers your sweetpeas will really do you proud.

Lawns

  • Feed, weed and moss killer treatments work well in April.
  • Sow new lawns and repair bald patches.
  • Scarify older lawns after moss treatment – they recover well.
  • Mow on a high cut whenever you can.

Ponds

  • Feed, weed and moss killer treatments work well in April.
  • Clean filters – replace bulbs in ultra violet filters, check for blanket weed.
  • If fish are active start feeding.
  • Look out for frogs and toads make sure they can get out of the pond – a piece of wood at an angle makes a good ramp for them.
  • Don’t use weed killer near ponds, it’s very dangerous to fish and other wildlife. I use a strimmer around my pond – it copes with practically everything.

General

  • Start to control slugs and snails, there are rafts of methods from slug pellets to copper bands, beer traps to orange peel. Remember to spread the slug pellets thinly – 4” to 6” apart – any closer and you are wasting money – and never put heaps of pellets out this is dangerous to pets and wildlife.

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