Spring has arrived early this year with many of the Spring flowers and blossoms out about a fortnight earlier than usual.
The weather temperatures are above seasonal averages and the rain fall is about 140mm below the yearly average. This does give us a good start to the garden but we also need to be aware of the problems that the early season will pose. Newly planted trees and shrubs may need to be watered and any more tender plants will needed to be watched as we could still get a late frost
The ground is very dry so when sowing seeds ensure that there is good moisture in the seed bed so that good germination will be achieved.
Insect pests have already become active on some plants so some control will be needed before their numbers get too high causing damage to the new soft growth.
Fungi may also be around earlier as plants will grow more quickly with more soft leaves that may be more susceptible to infection.
Weeds are on the move and when they are just germinated a good hoe on a sunny day will deal with them most effectively.
The garden will need to have a good mulch as soon as possible to retain the moisture as the predictions are for a drier Summer with more westerly winds.
The main tasks in the ornamental garden are to prune flowering trees and shrubs as soon as they have finished flowering, water Spring bulbs and prepare the ground for the planting of Summer bedding flowers.
Weed control, feeding, turf repairs and regular mowing of the grass are the tasks for the lawn.
Watering all around the whole garden from now on will help to keep the moisture up in the soil so that plants will grow well before the stresses of the Summer can have effect on them.
We can now plant all the more tender vegetable plants and get the main crop potatoes in. Beans like warm ground to germinate so they are better left until later in the month. Stagger planting of all the vegetables to get a continuous supply and to avoid having too much produce at any one time which could be wasted.
Cuttings of dahlias, chrysanthemums, begonias and many other perennials may be taken this month as the new growth appears. There is much to do in the garden this month so enjoy what you do - the rewards are great.
Good Gardening, Michael Coulter
Enjoy your garden