Your Garden in Spring
Spring is well and truly upon us now, and the clocks go forward at the end of the month, meaning better weather and more time to spend in the garden. With the sun making its first furtive appearances of the year, spring is a hugely enjoyable time to be out in the garden, planting and nurturing the flowers, veggies and fruits which will bloom over the year.
To give you a little helping hand to make the most of your garden this spring, here is a list of jobs you should be undertaking at this time of year.
Compost the Soil – March
If the soil in your plant beds is workable, dig in a 5cm layer of compost or rotted manure. This will get the beds ready for the upcoming growing season, giving all your plants the vital nutrients to grow strong and tall.
Protect Spring Shoots – March
Slugs and snails love to spend the month of March chomping their way through the new shoots of spring. A great way to protect your precious new plants from the predators is to surround the shoots or the beds with eggshells – this is an inexpensive alternative to slug pellets and presents no danger to other animals in the garden.
Plant the Summer Flowering Bulbs – March
We reckon this is definitely one of the year’s best gardening jobs – getting all the beautiful flowers bedded down and ready to bloom in the summer. There is certainly no shortage of summer flowering bulbs to choose from – lilies, begonias and irises are just a few of the beautiful flowers which will grow in the sunniest months.
Transplant Forced Bulbs – April
Any bulbs you have forced and have now finished flowering can be transplanted in to the garden. The likes of hyacinths and daffodils will add a splash of colour and beauty into your spring garden.
Hand Pollination – April
Give any peaches and nectarines a head start and a helping hand this year with a little hand pollination. Rather than waiting on natural pollinators to wake from their slumber, use a soft-bristled brush to spread pollen from one plant to another.
Harden off Half-Hardy Plants and Dahlias – May
Leave the plants outside during the day, before bringing them indoors at night – this will get them used to the outdoors. Continue this practice for roughly 10 days.
Tie-In Climbing and Rambling Roses – May
Get those climbing and rambling roses under control, laying the stems horizontally will help to produce more flowers.
Inspect for Pests and Diseases – May
Although you should always be keeping an eye out for pests and diseases, it’s definitely prime time to increase this activity. The tell-tale signs are likely to become more prominent starting this month and it’s better to prevent a problem than to try and solve one.
Trim Lavender Plants – May
To promote strong, healthy growth in your lavender plants, trim roughly 2.5cm off the current year’s growth. This is a great job for a sweet-smelling Sunday afternoon.
Plant Chitted Potatoes – March
If you have been chitting potatoes throughout January and February, you can start to plant them at the end of March. Hopefully they’ll have developed enough to ensure a bountiful harvest of spuds this year.
Plant Onions, Shallots and Garlic – March
Unless the soil is waterlogged or frozen, March is a perfect time to plant onion, shallot and garlic sets. These three kitchen staples are hugely versatile, complementing no end of homemade meals through the year.
Sow the Herbs – April
Whether you’re planting the herbs afresh in the garden or transplanting from indoor herb pots grown through the winter, it’s time to get them out in the garden. A small herb garden is the gift which keeps on giving, complementing and completing a huge number of family favourite recipes throughout the year.
Thin the Carrots – April
To help ensure your carrots grow big and bold, it’s time to start thinning the carrot patch – giving the remaining carrots more space to grow. To thin the patch, pinch the seedlings between thumb and forefinger and pull from the ground – aiming to leave the remaining seedlings with roughly 3cm spacings.
‘Earth Up’ Potatoes – May
In the warm, moist conditions, potatoes will grow incredibly quickly. To maximise the amount of space available for the potatoes to grow into, it is time to ‘earth up’. Loosen the soil around the roots of the potatoes and lift it up to the full height of the plants – this will increase the space available to the underground stems, where the potatoes will grow.
Harvesting Asparagus and Rhubarb – May
Some of the earliest veggies to bloom throughout the year, asparagus and rhubarb can be harvested in May. Harvest the asparagus spears when they are approaching 18cm tall, and roughly a third of the rhubarb, great additions for seasonal stews and pies respectively.
Plant Out the Brassicas – May
It is now time to plant the brassicas (and leeks) in their final position. Cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts can be planted to enjoy with Sunday roasts later in the year.
Plant Fruit Trees – March
Apple, cherry and other fruit trees should be planted in a sunny, sheltered spot – giving them the best chance to grow big and strong this year.
Protect Blossoming Fruits – March
If your apricots, peaches and nectarines are starting to blossom, it’s important to ensure they are still protected throughout March, reducing the risk of a freak late frost killing them in their wake.
Cover the Strawberries – March
Don’t fancy waiting until the summer for your delicious strawberries to grow? No worries, covering your strawberries with a cloche could help to promote early fruiting.
Feed the Citrus Plants – April
Traditionally only suited to sunnier climes, citrus plants will start their growth in earnest at this time of the year – so April is the perfect opportunity to start feeding any citrus in the garden.
Mulch Fruit Trees – April
Using well-rotted manure or garden compost, mulch the fruit trees. For top-dress patio dwarf trees, mulch with fresh compost and a slow release fertiliser.
Hang Up Netting – May
Another predator doing the rounds of the garden is the bird – eyeing up the delicious fruit growing within your land borders. Erecting netting around soft fruit plants will help prevent birds from attacking the crops.
Hang Pheromone Traps – May
Plum fruit moths and codling moths are out in force in May, so it’s time to protect your plants from their activity. Hang pheromone in plum trees and apple trees to protect them from hungry predators and greedy moths.
Add New Turf – March
If your ground is not frozen or waterlogged but requires a little re-turfing, spring is the time to get the new lawn bedded in. This gives it the best chance to be ready for barbeque season!
Begin Mowing Again – March
Now that a week can pass without the heavens opening – it’s time to start mowing the gardens again. This will be welcome news for those whose front and back gardens have started to grow a little wild.
And the Weeding – March
As well as the grass, all those pesky weeds will begin growing in earnest at this time of year. This means it is definitely high time to begin the weeding jobs, before they get out of hand and start dominating the garden.
Collect Rainwater – May
As the inevitable hosepipe ban draws ever closer, May is a great time to collect any rainwater – using this for a wide variety of uses. Collecting rainwater in a large drum to be used to water the lawn and flowers is a great water saver.
Mow the Lawn Weekly – May
Following spring’s inevitable rains, your lawn will probably be growing at a pace. So, to make sure it retains a neat and attractive appearance, it is important that the lawn is mowed weekly.
Around the House
Increase House Plant Watering – April
As the temperatures begin to rise (if not soar), it is time to increase the amount of water the house plants receive. This will ensure they stay well-fed and healthy – particularly important if you have carefully nurtured them throughout the winter.
Start a Diary – April
Things are now starting to happen at pace in the garden, so it can be a little hard to keep up with what is going on, and what needs to be done. Updating a diary which records the seeds which have been sown with the correct dates – you’ll be able to keep track of exactly what to expect through the year.
Fruit Trees – March
Ready for planting throughout spring, if you’ve got the room.
Seed for Hanging Baskets – March
Now is the time to plan your lovely interior plants.
Summer Bedding – April
Be quick, and get your summer bedding and hanging baskets ordered so you can get them bedded in.
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