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GARDENING

Your garden this April




by Andy Cawthray, 19th March 2019

Expect plenty of showers and plenty of flowers too

April really does ratchet up the gardening gears. The days are longer, the weather (though still unpredictable) is generally warmer, and the sun is sitting higher in the sky, all contributing to better growing conditions.

If you haven’t already, invest in water butts and position them under a downpipe to make the most of the April showers.

Other must-dos this month include repairing your lawn patches. Prepare them by digging, raking and levelling the spot then sowing lawn seed, keeping the soil moist while the seed is germinating.

A real must for me, too, is keeping track of what I’m sowing. I use a diary to record which seeds I’ve sown and when they were sown and planted out – it really helps later in the year.

Dig compost or manure into your borders and beds to prepare them for the growing season. And work in a general-purpose fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or fish, blood and bone. While you’re at it, apply a layer of mulch around your perennials, trees and shrubs before the hot weather arrives, using organic matter such as well rotted manure. 

And if any of your plants will need supporting this year, put the supports in now so the plants grow up through them. Adding supports later is difficult and can damage the plant.

  

Tip of the Month

Now’s the last chance for you to order most summer bedding and hanging-basket plants if you want a nice display of blooms this year

  

Ask Andy

Q: Are there any benefits to pruning?

A: It’s a fair question, as the task of pruning can be quite time-consuming. There are benefits, the main one being that it promotes healthy development of the plant. Removing old, dying or weak branches from trees/shrubs allows the structure to become stronger, more prolific and less prone to disease. Pruning also helps maintain the ornamental appearance by controlling height and shape. For example, if you’re looking to keep certain plants, such as climbers or vigorous-growing shrubs, from becoming unmanageable, regular and hard pruning is a must. Finally, it promotes flowering and fruiting as it improves air circulation which should result in more flowers or a much better and larger crop.

Got a gardening conundrum? Ask Andy by emailing andy@borderpublishing.com

 

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