April Gardening Jobs
“Sunny days and intermittent heavy showers sum up April.” Says Jane Gillespie, Horticulturalist at Oakchurch Farm Shop and Garden Centre at Staunton-on-Wye. Jane shares her tips based on what she’ll be doing in her own garden in April:
Green shoots and colourful blossom weave a pretty tapestry of spring. Days are full of change in this busy and exciting month.
There is plenty to sow, both in flower and vegetable garden. Sow hardy annuals directly in borders where they are to flower but half-hardy annuals (Zinnia, Marigold, Nicotiana) need to be sown under cover.
Hardy salad leaves can also be sown directly. Radishes and salad leaves are good for filling out gaps in vegetable garden between slower germinating crops.
Tender vegetable plants can be sown in the greenhouse. If space on the potting bench becomes an issue, call into the Garden Centre for ready grown plants. We have an excellent range available.
Runner and French beans can be sown in module trays in the greenhouse as can be other tender vegetables like Cucumber, Aubergine, Courgette and Pumpkin. Onion and Shallot sets can be planted out in vegetable beds for summer crops.
Second early and main crop Potatoes can be planted out now.
They do not have to be planted in the garden if you are short of space. Use special planting bags or large containers (these need to be sufficiently deep to enable the earthing up of the emerging shoots).
As soon as the shoots appear, they need to be covered with soil. This will increase the number of tubers in the soil.
Potato shoots are very frost sensitive. Cover the plants if there are frosty nights forecast.
Tend the lawn. Sprinkle feed and straighten lawn edges after mowing as this will make a big difference and smartens up the appearance instantly.
Plant tender summer flowering bulbs in pots (Lilies, Dahlia, Begonia, Eucomis and lots of others are available in the Garden Centre). Keep an eye out for Scarlet Lily Beetle. These bright red beetles love Fritillaries and Lilies, of course.
Continue dead-heading spring bulbs as the flowers fade. Leave their foliage to die back naturally.
Protect the new succulent shoots of herbaceous perennials like Hosta, Lupin and Delphinium from feasting slugs. Perennial borders will benefit from mulching as this will help keep moisture in and supress weeds. Composted bark is excellent as it also acts as a soil conditioner and our Westland composted bark is also peat free.
Start planning your summer containers and baskets. It is very tempting seeing all the lovely bedding plants in the garden centre. Place your newly planted pots in the greenhouse until danger of frost has passed. Keep an eye on the temperature in the greenhouse as it will increase during these sunny days and young plants will grow too fast and get leggy. It is advisable to use shade paint or shading mesh to reduce heat and scorching.
Job list for April seems endless as it grows with every passing day.
And importantly: don’t forget to enjoy your garden. Have a spring picnic or an early evening barbeque and admire the beauty of your spring flowers.