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Gardening Tips for April

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There is plenty to do this month in the garden as this is planting season. Keep weeding, but keep this to the minimum and leave seedheads for the birds and cover for wildlife. Here are your gardening tips for April:

  • Leave fallen leaves to rot down, but destroy any diseased plant material as soon as possible. Any other plant material can be composted.
  • If your compost was not started last month, get going on this. Investing in a chipper for woody stems to make life easier. Turn your compost once a week. You can add weeds, but not the roots unless they have been through a shredder.
  • If you have a greenhouse, now is a good time to spring clean. Wash windows to allow maximum light though over winter, scrub all the benches and fixtures with disinfectant. You may also want to fumigate which means taking all the plants out, closing up everything and discharging a fumigation canister for a pest-free environment.
  • Prepare the soil. Add plenty of compost, manure and organic matter as you can.
  • Keep watering pots and containers daily and check for wilting leaves before it’s too late. The soil should not be allowed to dry out completely.
  • Add plenty of mulch and make sure trees and shrubs are free of grass around their base.
  • Plant shrubs, trees, fruit bushes, perennials, climbers, annuals and bulbs in abundance now – all plants that come from the nursery in containers or bags. Check if the rootball is moist before planting or plunge into a bucket of water before planting.
  • Stake young trees.
  • Don’t waste fallen leaves. There may be too many for the compost heap so keep them in plastic bags until needed or make a leaf mould heap and give them time to decompose – it may take up to a year – or they can be used as a mulch for woodland plants such as azaleas and rhododendrons.
  • Prune tall shrubs and conifers making sure not to trim the old wood.
  • Remove any diseased or unproductive stems from roses and support new shoots in windy areas.
  • While the lawn is still growing, mow once a fortnight with the blades on high for the final few cuts. If you haven’t already done so, carry out the autumn lawn care programme of scarifying, aerating, repairing, top dressing and feeding with low nitrogen autumn lawn food.
  • Sow lawn seed after good preparation of the surface. Lay new turf at this time of the year.
  • Cut back jerusalem artichokes to ground level.
  • Harvest everything left in the veggie garden. Any stringy veggies can be composted or left on the plant to harvest the seed.
  • Dig up root crops such as potatoes, beetroot and carrots and dry before storing.
  • Harvest pumpkins and squashes and leave in the sun for the skin to harden and dry for a few days before storing.
  • Once parts of the vegetable garden are clear, dig over and add plenty of compost as soon as possible. Leave pea and bean plants in the ground as they provide valuable nitrogen in the soil and act as a green manure. Cut the stems off for the compost heap and leave the roots. Earmark this space for leafy vegetables that need loads of nitrogen.
  • Plant winter lettuces, onions, cabbages and in mild areas broad beans and garlic. Cover with fleece or clear cloches for insulation and protection from birds.
  • Remove yellow leaves from brassicas such as brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli to prevent disease.
  • Plant mint, parsley and chives for winter.
  • Plant strawberries and water regularly

For more gardening tips read our blogs for May.