As the days start to lengthen and the temperatures warm up, we can really start to get involved in the garden again. It’s time to start pruning, feeding and growing, so we’ve got some great advice to help you plan your time.
Pruning & tidying
Many early spring-flowering shrubs like Forsythia and dwarf Cherry may be starting to ‘go over’ and now is the time to prune them. Also, whilst you have the secateurs out it would be a good idea to give those evergreen shrubs a little tidy too. Photinia Red Robin can easily go leggy if not given a good prune at this time of year. This is especially important if you are growing it as a hedge, as it is for privet and buxus too.
And whilst we tidy the shrubs up, many herbaceous plants will be really getting underway now. For those heavy flowering varieties such as Peony, make sure they have a good support system around them to keep them upright. Lupins, Delphiniums and Hollyhocks would also benefit from support, before they get too tall to deal with. All that new growth is particularly inviting for slugs and snails so be extra vigilant, so also look to get some slug protection in place now.
For all those who are wanting to start ‘growing their own’ then now is a great time to start. Plants like Peas, Beans and Lettuce are very easy to grow from seed and should be sown now. Although Peas and Beans can be planted straight in situ, it is sometimes best to propagate them first to get them past the ‘slug’ stage. If you are unsure about planting seeds, these vegetables are all available as small plants too. You could even try being a bit more adventurous with things like Pak Choi or Edamame beans.
Tomato plants are also great fun to grow. They may still need some protection against the cooler evenings but once they get going they are incredibly rewarding for both children and grown-ups. Gardeners Delight and Money Maker are good, traditional, tried and tested varieties, but why not try a grafted plant? They are a little more expensive but have good disease resistance and boast up to 75% more fruit per plant.
In short, things are starting to grow now. If you want to give your plants a really good start, then April is the month to give them a good feed. Slow release fertiliser such as ‘Fast Grow’ and ‘Q4’ are perfect for applying now. For a more instant feed then a general liquid fertiliser will do just the trick. Just make sure you have stocked up on tomato food too, as this is the perfect food for any flowering plants.