Spring is a fabulous time in the garden, with flowers blooming and shrubs and trees bursting into leaf. We normally have good ‘growing weather’ here in the UK in this season, with lots of sunshine and showers. While that’s great news for all our plants, it also means that weeds can be off and running before you’ve had time to say ‘Where’s the trowel?’, so it’s best to try and keep on top on things. Here’s what you need to do this month:
This is top of the list now and will be for several months to come, but at least most weeds won’t put up too much of a fight at this time year! Dig brambles and nettles out completely if you can, or use a ‘weed barrier’. This special fabric can be laid over large areas and suppresses weed growth ready for you to plant up the bed later in the year. It’s important to get rid of dandelions before they start flowering. Seedlings like sycamore are also starting to sprout. If you can clear beds now, it not only gives you a clear run for planting out but also means weeds won’t be as flourishing.
Sowing and planting
April is a good time of year for many plants, and you can start to sow outdoors as well if you have no greenhouse. Prepare the bed first by digging it over, weeding (yes, we’re obsessed!) and digging in some compost. Rake it smooth, then use the end of a garden stake to make planting holes for larger seeds. For smaller seeders, use the stake or the edge of a trowel to make a shallow groove. Water the ground first before planting the seeds, rather than the other way round. Planting into wet soil is better than dislodging your carefully-placed seeds with a watering can! Remember to label each row when you’ve finished. If there is still any chance of frosts, you can cover your seeds with a layer of fleece pegged in at the sides. This also the time to plant out more pre-grown bedding plants and annuals.
Take stock of your lawn. Does it have bare patches caused by standing water over the winter? Any muddy bits where the dog has been a bit too enthusiastic with his ball? Now’s the time to get it in shape for the summer. If you leave bare patches, then weeds (yes, sorry, back to the weeds!) will appear and make a mess of the lawn. Lightly dig over the bald patch and add a thin layer of compost. Sow the seed then cover with more compost to protect it from sun and birds. Water it in, and keep it damp until it starts to sprout. For larger areas, it might be worth buying in some new turf.
Roses and any shrubs that you have in containers will appreciate a spring feed around now. Choose the right fertiliser for the type of plant and use according to packet instructions. Shrubs not in containers can be fed in late autumn/winter.
A few hours of work at this time of year will reap huge benefits later in the summer, particularly if you can manage to rope the family in to give you a hand! When you’re sitting out with G&T in hand, it will all be worthwhile.
All images (c) 2021 Pixabay