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.
- 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.
- Prune overgrown or newly planted blackcurrants back hard - almost to ground level, this will 'open up' the plant and encourage new shoots, producing fruit the following season. Blackcurrants mainly fruit on last year's growth. Normal pruning is restricted to removing the old fruiting branches, just after fruiting, leaving new shoots to bear fruit next year.
- 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.
- Geranium cuttings should be taken now. Cut off a 8cm (3in) shoot just below a leaf joint (node), remove all but the top pair of leaves and insert the cuttings 4cm (1.5in) into a small pot of potting compost. Gently water in the cuttings and place in a warm, well-lit place. When they have begun to produce more leaves they can be moved to larger pots, containing general-purpose compost.
- Spread compost from the compost bin, over the borders, this adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.
- 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.
- After a frost try to stay off the grass. Treading on the lawn in frosty conditions can damage the grass.
- Refirm the roots of any shrubs that may have been lifted by frost.
- 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.
- If you have any decorative plant pots that aren't frostproof. Empty them of all soil and store them in the shed, greenhouse or garage.
- During autumn and winter, indoor plants will require less feeding and watering. However as the temperature drops outside, the central heating goes on and the temperature in the house tends to go up, so whilst it's a good idea to keep your pot plants on the dry side and not water them too often, you should check a couple of times a week to ensure they haven't totally dried out. Oh and if you have a water spray bottle, hold the plant over the sink or bath and give the foliage a quick little squirt (don't do this to hairy leaved plants like african violets).
- Don't go and buy an indoor (small) watering can, I find that the kettle does just as good a job, but obviously not after it has just boiled!! (the water should be room temperature or cooler).
- Chitting and growing potatoes
- Making leaf mould
- Care of Hippeastrum/Amaryllis after flowering
- Planting up winter containers and baskets
- Storing plants over winter
- Creating a compost heap
- How to lay a new lawn
- Removing large branches
- Updated photo gallery