April

Well, it’s been a strange old April so far really. Not only has it been HOT and distinctly lacking in April Showers up to now, we are of course in lockdown!

Whilst lockdown has meant hard and heartbreaking work for some who work on ‘the front line’ – for others it has provided a period of enforced confinement at home which has been perfect for getting on with the garden!

We at the shop have of course been closed in line with Government requirements, however, Tracey has been busy delivering plants to people who are using their time horticulturally! We are still taking orders, so it’s not too late to select your perfect plants and and have them delivered to your door.

In the meantime, you could be getting on with other jobs in your garden. For example, for most of us our lovely daffodils have started to look a little tired and dried up. To tidy them up, simply remove the shrivelled heads, but do not take the stems and leaves as the plant needs these to replenish the bulb for next year.

You could also get on with pruning any unwieldy forsythia once it has finished flowering (cut stems back to a strong new and leafy sideshows and remove one or two of the oldest stems all the way to the base) and Cut back Lavender plants now to prevent them from looking straggly. Snip off old flower stems and shoot tips (take off about 2.5cm) – but don’t prune too hard into the old wood, as this will prevent new growth.

Now that the weather has had a chance to warm the soil, you can also start to direct sow hardy annuals – for example marigolds, poppies, nigella, etc. – make sure to sow in drifts to create a more naturalistic effect.

Another great way to propagate more plants is to divide them. We looked at division of summer flowering perennials last time, but you can also now start to divide spring flowering plants – once their flowers have faded. Great plants to try are snowdrops and primroses. Divide them carefully and replant to create a natural looking woodland effect.

In the veg garden…

At this time of year we usually have a great selection of veg plants in the shop. However as this year is rather different, you may need to rely a little more on growing your veggies from seed.

You can direct sow salad leaves, carrot and beetroot now – but be careful of the carrot fly once the leaves start to show. To avoid an infestation ruining your crop, you need to erect a fly proof barrier which is at least 60cm high (the carrot fly cannot fly above this!). I have erected wooden stakes around my bed and will fix a fleece barrier before the carrot fly can get to work. Apparently they can smell carrot foliage from miles off and come especially for a good munch!

Wooden stakes ready to erect a barrier to the carrot fly

You can also sow some pumpkin, squash and sweetcorn seeds now – remember, sweetcorn will need supporting eventually. If you have them, plant out second early potatoes now and start chitting your main crops
If you have already sown some tomato or cucumber seeds then you will need to pot on the seedlings into bigger pots-(re-use old plastic pots, but remember to wash them first) however, you should still keep them protected until after the last frosts – you may need to support them with a short cane as they grow.

Tomato seedlings waiting for their day in the sun!

If you have them, now is the time to prune stone fruited trees such as plum, cherry, peach and nectarine when the plants are in leaf and after flowering – however you need to be sure to immediately seal all cuts greater than 1cm with wound seal – this will stop the tree from succumbing to disease.

Well….what ever you decide to do in your Garden this April – it’s sure to be time well spent!

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