We hope you find these topical tips, courtesy of our Chairman, useful!
What to do in April
Spring is probably the busiest time of the year in the garden. There’s just so much to do, but now the evenings are light you’ve got no excuse. All your efforts now will be well repaid later in the year.
• Prick out spring-sown seedlings into trays or pots and grow them on in the greenhouse until you can plant them out when danger of frost is over.
• Split polyanthus plants after they have flowered. Break up large clumps into single small crowns. Plant these in a shady corner to grow on until the autumn when you can plant them out again.
• If moss is a problem on your lawn, treat now with lawn sand. Rake out dead moss and re-seed as necessary.
• Fuchsias grown in pots in the greenhouse should be “stopped” by removing the growing tips to encourage branching from the leaf axils. Repeat this when the new shoots have developed two or three pairs of leaves. Gradually a nice rounded shape will be produced. If you are entering your plants in a summer show, remember that flowering will start between six and eight weeks after the last “stop”.
• Hardy fuchsias growing outdoors should be cut back to encourage new growth from the base.
• Prepare your containers and hanging baskets over the next few weeks. Remember to provide protection until danger of frost is over.
• Remove any blanket weed from your pond and gradually increase feeding of the fish. Chemical treatments are available if blanket weed and algae are persistent problems.
• If this dry spell continues, don’t forget to water hardy plants you have just planted out.
• For a brilliant display of gladioli in August plant corms over the next few weeks. Plant the corms 4 – 6 inches deep and if your soil is heavy place the corms on a layer of coarse sand to ensure good drainage.
• In the vegetable plot, plant out seed potatoes, sow root vegetables and brassicas. Keep the plot clean to minimise pest and disease problems.
• After you have enjoyed the spring bulbs remove the dead flower heads to prevent seeds developing. Leave the foliage for at least six weeks to allow the bulbs’ energy supply to build up for next year’s flowers. Feed with a high potash fertiliser. Plant any pot grown bulbs out into the garden.
• Get the garden seats and chairs out from their winter storage and clean them off – only a couple more months of hard work and you’ll be able to sit down!