April is a good month for the garden and gardeners alike. As the weather warms and flowers begin to bloom there becomes plenty to do in the garden, so wellies on and get out there.
Weeds – You need to give the garden a good check and focus on an area at a time. Careful weeding of one patch will be much more beneficial in the long run than rushing the job and leaving roots behind. Avoid herbicides at all costs and use a hand fork or long handed weeding tool to make sure you are getting the whole root system out. It is important to keep on top of this in April and May to prevent them seeding and becoming a problem.
Lawns – you still need to keep the blade high but you can start regularly mowing now. It is also a good time for fertiliser or lawn conditioner and to get those edges looking good. Check for any weeds and sow grass seed into any bare patches or areas that need repairing after you have raked through them well. If you have any compacted areas start aerating them by spiking them with a garden fork.
Feeding – use a slow release fertiliser lightly forked into the soil for trees, shrubs and hedges. Roses would benefit from a good feed.
Planting – you can directly sow hardy annuals such as Poppies and Sunflowers and others can go in your greenhouse such as Nasturtiums and Petunias. If you have any seedlings that need hardening off, start putting them outside on warm days, gradually increasing their time outside. Check your vegetable seed packets you will find some can go directly in the ground already and some can be started in the greenhouse. We’ve sowed peas, broccoli, sweetorn, beetroot, cauliflower, leeks, carrots, parsnips and leeks already and will be doing a second sowing soon.
As it becomes warmer make sure you water your house plants more often as they will start to dry out.
Encouraging wildlife is important for any time of the year, but make sure you have water and food available for birds all year round so they know where to come when food is scarce. Sow a wild flower meadow to encourage bees and other pollinators. One of the best ways of keeping snails, slugs and other insects such as greenfly at bay is to encourage wildlife that prey on these pests. Encourage thrushes, hedgehogs and toads into your gardens and plant flowers that encourage ladybirds such as Marigolds or Calendula.
Enjoy, April is a busy month for gardeners!
Words: Jude Eastick, Company Director & Head Gardener