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Essential Gardening Tips for April

Camellias, daffodils and other bulbs are in full bloom, magnolias and rhododendrons will be next to show us their magnificence, green buds are starting to show, the clocks have sprung forward, the days are longer and finally, the sun is beginning to have some warmth in it.

Spring is here, and it’s time for real action in the garden, allotment and greenhouse. It’s time to get the lawn ready for lazy summer afternoons and, although we need to be aware of frosts still, we can at last begin sowing seeds outside. April is also the time to clean your greenhouse, decking and paving stones. Also, check your shed and any other garden structures for winter damage and generally make sure everything is prepped for your growing and/or sunbathing season.

Weeds

Before you start concentrating on what you want to grow in your garden, you should get rid of the weeds. The easy way is to use chemical weed killers, but more and more people now prefer to pull weeds by hand. Use a hoe for shallow-rooted widespread weeds and invest in a weed hook for deep rooted weeds like dandelions. Don’t throw weeds, especially grasses, into your compost as they’ll simply reseed! For long-term prevention, cover with mulch and weed suppressing fabrics.

 

Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers.

 

-  Thomas Tusser, A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry, 1557

Lawn

Your lawn might need a mow by now, so cut the grass before reseeding or turfing over any bare patches of lawn. If seeding, cover the seeds with a little soil to protect them from hungry birds and for both methods, water with a fine rose and make sure no one treads on the area while it takes.

Fruit trees

Hopefully winter is over, but you might still want to keep an eye out and cover fruit trees with a fleece to protect from frosts. Now’s also the time to feed any citrus plants in your garden.

Roses, shrubs & fig trees

You should have pruned your roses already, but feel free to snip a little here and there as you make sure all your tie backs are in good condition to support your blooms this year. April is also feeding time for roses and shrubs and if you’ve got a fig tree, now’s the time to prune back a few of the older, barer branches.

In the greenhouse

Give the glass a good clean to let maximum light in and to remove the risk of disease. Sow some of the more delicate vegetables in your greenhouse initially: carrots, tomatoes, courgette, celery, lettuce, squash, cucumbers

Sow hardy vegetables and plants outdoors

First off, make sure you have a good weed-free seed bed with crumbly-soil. If you haven’t already, dig over the soil then follow the seed packet instructions exactly. If you’re growing vegetables, don’t sow too many of one veg at one time and don’t forget to label your rows. Again, keep a fleece or cloche handy in case of late frosts.

Good hardy plants: sunflowers, lilies, gladioli, ranunculi

Good hardy vegetables: potatoes, beets, cabbage, parsnip, kale, radish, herbs,

In the house

Water houseplants a bit more as temperatures rise, perhaps move them if their spot gets too much sunshine to avoid burning as the sun’s angles change with the seasons.

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