April is a fantastic month for gardeners, the weather is probably going to be showery, but with the rising temperatures and hopefully more sightings of the sun it will be a good time to start gardening in earnest. Just beware of any late frosts!
If we do have dry, windy weather be prepared to water vulnerable areas like seedbeds as they may not be able to soak up enough moisture from the ground. Equally if you need to speed up the drying time on saturated ground, lay down fleece, cloches or plastic, this will warm up the ground and therefore speed up germination of seed crops like carrots for example.
As mentioned before, keep a close eye on those frosts and put fleece on or around any susceptible plants.
Plant or move any evergreen shrubs now and don’t forget to water them in well. The same with evergreen hedges, plant them now but keep them well watered in dry spells, a good drench once a week is better than a dribble every day!
If you have not finished pruning your roses do it now, also start spraying them with fungicides every fortnight to ward off blackspot and mildew, this needs to be done until Autumn!
Split Snowdrops into clumps of three or more by digging them up a gently teasing apart to avoid damaging them, dig them into cultivated soil with a bit of bonemeal to help them on their way.
Sow sweet peas outdoors (soak the seeds overnight to improve germination) and plant out those raised under cover.
Many different vegetables can be sown as seed this month – check the instructions on the packet and plant away! Broad beans, carrots, lettuces, spinach, salad leaves, leeks and chard are just a few ideas to get your healthy, cheap and home-grown food underway!
Traditionalists plant potatoes on Good Friday which was 29th March but don’t worry if you didn’t, plant first and second earlies first, main crop by the middle of the month.
Plant shallots and onion sets in crumbly well-drained soil.
Finally don’t forget the structural garden, those sheds, fences and trellis work etc have had a hard winter and now is a good time to paint or apply wood preserver before they get tangled in clematis or other climbing plants. At Parkers we always have great offers on preservers etc so come and take a look. Similarly the theme in the kitchen at the moment has a really country look with some cute mint striped and spotty, some red with white polka dots and some gorgeous classic creams, just look in the windows at Ross or Abergavenny for a real treat, they look fantastic, we have had them ‘eggspertly’ dressed for the Easter period!