The days are getting longer and at the end of the month daylight saving starts, meaning plants begin their growth, flowers burst out and our garden work really gets under way.
One of the best tips at this time of year is to do today what needs to be done as tomorrow may be too late. I find it better to do a little each day rather than trying to do a weeks worth of tasks in one day because Spring weather can be very unpredictable and it may rain on the day you decided to garden.
Weeds seem to grow faster than any other plant this month so the top task for me is getting weeds under control. Remember, a task well begun is a task half done.
Fruit & Vegetable Garden
- Dig the ground over to make a good fine soil ready for planting and sowing.
- Dig in compost and any animal manure 2-3 weeks before planting or sowing.
- Keep weeding crops that are already in the ground especially garlic, onions and shallots as they are not good at competing with weeds.
- Begin sowing outside the hardy crops such as peas, carrots, parsnips, leeks and any of the brassicas.
- Transplant seedlings of the early leaf crops to give a succession of crops through out the season. Do not plant too many of any one variety at one time as it will give an over supply at the expense of a continual supply.
- Give the citrus plants the first of the seasons feed using a special citrus fertiliser then top up the mulch around the base of them.
- In the greenhouse the warmer loving crops can be planted, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers etc.
- Plant early potatoes but keep a watch out as they emerge through the ground and mould up especially if a frost is forecast. On the fruit trees follow the spray programme as they begin to flower and come into leaf.
- Prevention is better than a cure for pest and disease on plants.
- Cut every week and catch the grass. Only cut about 1/3 of the leaf height.
- Top dress any low areas of the lawn.
- A good tip is to mix good seed with the soil before top dressing the lawn. Do this after you have de thatched the lawn (see below).
- At the end of the month lawns may be sprayed for weeds and moss.
- Remember not to compost treated lawn clippings.
- Rake over lawns to lift the thatch and mow, this helps to reinvigorate the grass. After the removal of the thatch give the lawn a feed.
- Keep the garden weed free and prepare any areas needed for planting Summer flowering plants.
- As Spring and Winter flowering shrubs finish flowering prune to encourage next seasons flowers (camellias, rhodos, daphnes, forsythias etc.)
- Fertilise around shrubs before they come into growth to keep them healthy (always check their needs as some do not like too much food i.e. proteas).
- Dead head Spring bulbs as they finish flowering to encourage next years flowers.
- Do not cut leaves off daffodils too soon they are needed to feed the bulb for next years flowers.
- Hosta buds are swelling ready to come into leaf treat for slugs and snails now to stop the new leaves having holes in them.
- Roses are growing now, keep a watch out for aphids on the new growth and treat at the first sign. Also apply preventive treatments for black spot and other diseases now to keep them clean.