TAKING CARE OF YOUR GARDEN IN APRIL
  • Plant up your pots with spring colour and scents.
  • Spring clean with the range of ‘Hero’ outdoor cleaning products. Easy to use with very little work.
  • Make sure to warm soil with cloches or sheets of polyethene for early sowings of peas and beans which dislike cold wet soil.
  • Sow seeds of the following crops this week if conditions are fine: beetroot, parsnips, turnips, onions, peas and mange tout, broad beans, lettuce and salad leaves, spinach, radish, rocket, pak choi, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
  • Sprinkle sulphate of potash fertiliser around clumps of tulips to boost flowering.
  • Secure emerging clematis shoots to supports, taking care not to snap their fragile stems and apply slug pellets.
  • Plant out onion sets and shallots.
  • Place collars around the stems of brassicas to prevent an attack of cabbage root fly.
  • Continue to use ‘Osmo Moss killer’ on your lawn after applying a PH stabilizer.
  • Trim leggy rosemary bushes to promote bushy new growth.
  • Start to regularly spray roses that are vulnerable to disease, I always alternate between different sprays so they don’t have a chance to build up a resistance against it.
  • Start sowing salad crops at regular 3-4 week intervals to ensure a regular supply for picking.
  • Tidy up hedges, but before you start cutting make sure no birds are nesting in them.
  • In your greenhouse or tunnel hang yellow sticky traps among plants to catch whitefly and other flying pests.
  • Throw sheets of fleece over fruit trees on frosty nights to protect blossom.
  • 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).

Spring is here and the plants and trees are all looking hungry after the long winter. Feeding is the key to getting the best displays and crops from your garden. A number of chemical elements are essential for plant growth. Three are required in relatively large amounts, nitrogen for leaf growth, phosphorus for root development and potash for strengthening resistance to disease and poor growing conditions. A general purpose fertilizer like ‘Growmore’ has these elements in roughly equal amounts. Manure or fertilizer? -  the age old argument. Actually, there is nothing to argue about both are vital and neither can be properly replaced by the other. The role of bulky organic matter (farmyard manure, garden compost) is to make the soil structure good enough to support a vigorous and healthy crop. The role of fertilizers is to provide the plants with enough nutrients that they reach their full potential in this soil. In your vegetable garden, one of the most important uses for a general purpose fertilizer is to provide a bass dressing just before sowing or planting. Crops which take some time to mature like purple sprouting broccoli or curly kale will need one or more top dressings during the season. I find it always better to use a liquid seaweed feed on these occasions as the powder or granular feeds can cause scorch damage if applied to the leaves or as a time-saving alternative you can always use a slow release fertilizer to steadily release nutrients into the soil or compost for 6 months. Always read the instructions as every feed is different and if you can choose an organic brand. 

April