LATE APRIL GARDEN TASKS
- Continue to plant dahlia and lily bulbs, come summer you will be glad you did!
- Lightly clip box edging and topiary to neaten them up
- Sow seeds of the following crops this week if conditions are fine: beetroot, parsnips, turnips, onions, peas and mangetout, broad beans, lettuce and salad leaves, spinach, radish, rocket, pak choi, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts
- Thin out seedlings from earlier sowings
- Secure emerging clematis shoots to supports, taking care not to snap their fragile stems
- Prune early-flowering clematis, such as Clematis m=Montana, immediately after flowering to control their size
- Start using your garlic spray to ward off disease on your disease vulnerable roses
- Spray new leaves on disease-prone roses with fungicide, to prevent infection by mildew, rust or blackspot
- Hoe bare areas of soil to prevent weed seedlings from establishing themselvesPlant up ponds with new aquatic plantsKeep newly planted trees and shrubs well watered until established
- If you planted spring bulbs in your lawn avoid mowing off leaves until early June
- If you have a greenhouse, you can now plant tomatoes, melons and pepper plants in big pots or in an instant planter (a fatter type of grow bag)
- Throw sheets of fleece over fruit trees on frosty nights to protect blossom
- Place collars around the stems of brassicas to prevent an attack of cabbage root fly
- Feed strawberries with a high potash feed and plant a borage next to them
One of the most frequently asked questions we are asked in the garden centre is what, where & when to feed plants. Plants are able to make their own food by capturing the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar (remember your school science classes) but in order to stay healthy and give the best results they take additional nutrients out of the soil or compost, so it's important to provide them with supplementary fertiliser. The basic nutrients required by plants are nitrogen (N) for leaf and stem growth, phosphorus (P) for root growth and potassium (K) for flowers, fruit and to maintain healthy growth. Adding fertiliser to the base of planting holes for new plants will encourage good root establishment and growth in the first season. A good balanced granular fertiliser can be applied around all established plants in spring. Distribute it around the base of plants at the rate recommended on the packaging. Avoid getting granules on soft stems and leaves as it may scorch them. Slow-release granules can be mixed with the compost in pots when planting summer bedding to provide nutrients for the whole growing season. If you have existing planted pots, this slow release fertiliser does come in tablet form that can be pushed into the soil, feeding for the whole season. Fertilisers are also available to mix up with water for liquid application. Liquid concentrates and ready-to-use liquid feeds are also available. These are quick acting as the plant roots can take in the dissolved nutrients with the water. For best results apply fertilisers when the soil is moist. Always apply high-potash fertilisers to encourage flowering of all plants and a good crop of any plant grown for its fruit and for great vegetables apply lime to improve the soil structure. Diluted liquid feeds or fertilisers can be applied to the foliage of many plants for quick results (roses greatly benefit from a foliar feed in July/ August). Always read the instructions as every feed is different and if you can choose an organic brand.