Whatever the weather or time of year there is always something to be done in the garden.
Each month we ask our managers to give us their advice on what we should be looking at at this time of year.
The Kitchen Garden
There are still a few weeks left to plant seed potatoes, onion sets, cabbage plants and soft fruit. Carrots, peas, beans and salad crops can be sown directly into the ground, but if space is limited, try growing potatoes in a pot and lettuces in a growbag. Improve the soil with Growmore or pelleted chicken manure. This is an ideal time to create a herb garden or pot, remembering to incorporate grit into the soil for extra drainage.
The Water Garden
Pond season is almost here so it is now a good time to check that all your equipment is still in working order following the winter. Don’t forget to check your pipes and fittings for leaks. As the weather starts to warm up for fish will become more active meaning you can begin to feed them more regularly. Divide and repot large established pond plants before they come into growth. You can also add aquatic slow release fertilizer to the plants roots to help growth. UV steriliser bulbs may need replacing now ready for the summer months. (Bulbs are only effective for 9 to 12 months).
Roses should have been pruned back in March, but now, Forsythia, Cornus, Salix (willows), Spiraea, Buddleia and Sambucus (Elder) should be pruned down. Now is the time to thin out overcrowded herbaceous borders. Lift the clumps and split using two forks to produce vigorous plants with a multitude of flowers. It’s also a good time to create a new border or add to an existing collection. Be on your guard for slugs and snails which can be combatted with pellets or environmentally safe alternatives. Lilies, Gladioli and Freesias can be planted now, in the ground or in pots.
Use packets of inexpensive hardy annuals to fill any border gaps and plant sweet peas for a stunning summer show. Be vigilant against any disease or pests that may be present on your roses. Spray them with a combined fungicide and insecticide such a Roseclear. Do not be tempted to cut down or tie up your daffodil leaves after flowering. Vitax Q4 or fish, blood and bone will provide them with essential energy for the next year.
Establish new lawns using turf or seed. Re-seed bare patches or damaged areas. The warm air and April showers will ensure a quick start. With established lawns, apply a combined feed, weed and moss treatment. To maintain a healthy, lush lawn, mow it regularly. Nothing sets off a lawn better than neat and tidy edges either cut using a half moon edging iron or save time and trouble by installing a plastic edging strip.
Space is at a premium this month. Plan carefully to stagger germination and pricking out times. Hanging baskets can be planted, along with patio pots, to allow them time to mature before they are put out at the end of May. Tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes can be planted, But watch out for late frosts. Start their feeding regime with Phostrogen or Feed All. Temperatures rise this month, so ventilation is important, helping to reduce fungal infections such as mildew. Dahlia tubers need a head start to be ready for planting in May.