Seeds to plant now:
Indoors or in a heated greenhouse
Outside under cover
Shows and events:
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The UKGardening web site has been running since 1998. The idea behind the site has always been to provide what we think will be interesting and useful information for the novice gardener.
Jobs to do in the garden this week.
- Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Alternatively try to encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails.
- Regularly water trees and shrubs that were planted last autumn and winter. Their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
- Thin out seedlings, leaving the strongest growing plants. Water the soil gently beforehand to reduce soil disturbance.
- Cut grass weekly, long grass takes more nutrients out of the soil. It is also harder to cut and may leave yellow patches in the lawn.
- Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn't rained.
- Open cloches ends to allow pollinating insects access to flowering plants. Remove cloches in late spring.
- Plant up new ponds with aquatics, including oxygenators.
- As daffodils fade, remove the flower heads. Don't cut back the leaves - leave them to die back naturally. However if you want to tidy them up, wait until the leaves have yellowed before removing.
- Feed established roses with a rose fertilizer.
- Lift and divide primulas and polyanthus after they have finished flowering.
- Now is the best time to plant lavender. Widely grown for its scent and foliage, lavender is ideal for borders or a low hedge. Available in shades of purple, blue, white and pink it is a magnet for bees and butterflies
- April is the peak flowering time for orchids.
- Lift, divide and replant chives.
- April is the best time to plant an evergreen, such as laurel or box.
- Remove the dead heads of spring flowering bulbs. This will encourage the plant to store energy in the bulb rather than wasting it on seed production.
- Postion plant supports where they will be needed in late summer. Doing this now reduces the risk of damaging the roots later in the season.
- If your lawn is more moss than grass, then treat with a lawn moss killer. Bare in mind that the moss will turn black within a couple of days, so don't be too alarmed. A couple of weeks after application, if you are left with bare patches in your lawn, mix equal quantities of grass seed and seived compost and scatter over the patches, cover areas with fine netting or twigs gently pushed into the soil, to protect from birds and animals. Combination lawn feed and moss killer is available, but feeding your lawn when it's not necessary will encourage it to grow quicker and therefore need to be cut more regularly.
- Begin regular cutting of your lawn. If the grass is long increase the height adjustment of the mower to the highest setting once this first cut has been done, go back over the lawn and cut it again on a lower setting.
- Don't be tempted to buy your summer bedding yet, unless you have a greenhouse, conservatory or cold frame that you can store them in. A late April / early May frost is not uncommon in the UK.
- Your pond may have started to turn green and cloudy. This is due to a rapid increase in algae, which flourish in the warmer spring temperatures. Once the pond plants start to grow again, especially the oxygenating plants, these will use up the nutrients and create shade, reducing the amount of algae. To speed up the clearing of the water, drop a string bag of barley straw into the pond. As it begins to breakdown, it will use up the excess nutrients, reducing the amount of algae and also blanket weed. If you have a fountain or waterfall, try to position the barley underneath this, in still ponds weigh it down so it floats just below the surface of the water. Remove the barley after about six months, before it completely rots down, polluting the water.
- Tidy up any remaining leaves and general garden rubbish. It's home to slugs, snails, vine weevil and woodlice and can introduce disease and infection into your garden.
- Plant lily and gladioli bulbs in 4in (10cm) deep holes. Cover with soil or compost and gently firm down the soil to ensure that there are no air pockets as this may cause the bulbs to rot.
- Remove algae and moss from patios and paths with a proprietary patio and path cleaner or tar-oil winter wash.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Cover shrubs that are likely to be damaged by frost with garden fleece, sacking or an old light blanket.