The garden is really starting to come alive now and all the spring bulbs that you planted in the autumn should be a riot of colour by now. But like your bulbs, the weeds will also be starting to grow so you will need to be keeping an eye out for them, it is best to get rid of them before they get too big.
There is so much to be getting on with in the garden during April. The fair weather means that everything starts growing like mad. April also heralds to start of the lawn mowing season. Before you start up your mower it is best to give it a service, especially if you have a petrol one. If you don’t feel confident in servicing it yourself, then there are many local machinery dealers that will be able to do it for you.
Like the garden, there is much to do in the vegetable patch this month too. Most crops like to be sown in April. Even your winter crops, such as sprouts, kale and sprouting broccoli take many months to grow. It is therefore best to get them growing now so that you produce a successful crop. Sow thinly in seed trays or pots of good compost in a greenhouse or cold frame. Once germinated prick out into individual pots and grow on until large enough to plant out.
There are also lots of vegetables that can be sown direct into the soil outside, but do check weather conditions prior to sowing, as we can still get a frost up until May. Carrots, radish, beetroot and peas are just some of the vegetables that can be sown. Make a drill with the edge of your rake about 3cm (1”) deep and sow thinly down the row, rake the soil back over the seeds and water well.
In the greenhouse there will be lots of pricking out and potting on to be done. Keep a look out for pest and disease; these can quickly take over your greenhouse. It is good practice to ventilate your greenhouse when you can, especially on warm days. Good ventilation will help prevent a build-up of any diseases that try to take over. April is also the month to be sowing cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins and squashes; they are all sown in the same way. Place one seed per pot on its side one cm deep in good quality compost then water in.
In the fruit garden, if you did not manage to mulch around your fruit trees in the autumn then it is not too late to do it now while the soil is still moist. As your fruit bushes come into flower, you may need to give them some protection with fleece or similar to help prevent the flowers being caught by the frost. As you will be starting to produce lots of weeds and grass clippings, you are going to need space in your compost bins. So give your compost heap a turn. This will add more air into your heap and mix it up, as the garden waste on the top of the bin doesn’t rot as well as the bottom. If you have any compost that is ready to use empty out the bin and use it around your garden.
April is a good month to get out and visit a few gardens, giving you lots of inspiration for your own. A good website to look at to find a garden that is open near you is www.ngs.org.uk.The National Garden Scheme has been running since 1927 and has raised more than £45 million pounds for charity since it started. So not only will you get to look around some great private gardens, you will also be helping raise money for charity. We have a selection of NGS gardens you may wish to visit, featured as part of the homes and gardens feature this month.