Every month we talk to the experts at Poundbury Gardens to see what we should be doing in our gardens. Manager Lucy Simpson gives us her tips for April.
With spring in the air make the most of any dry days by doing what you can outdoors. If weather conditions are less favourable you can always start off seeds in a grow house or greenhouse and move young plants outside when conditions are better. Keep cloches or fleece handy for tender young plants in case of frost and protect any delicate mature plants with fleece or plant cosies.
Many lawns will not be looking their best at the moment and if the lawn is looking tired it can detract from even the most attractive borders. The wet winter will have resulted in the growth of moss and this is a good time to tackle both the moss and the conditions that encourage it. For details of how to restore a tired looking lawn and help to choose the right products for your particular needs, ask for our full spring lawn care factsheet or for a simple moss busting guide ask for our guide ‘manage your moss’ – our factsheets can also be downloaded from our website.
Sow some hardy annual seeds directly into the ground where they are to flower, if you haven’t already done so. They are easy to grow from seed and an economic way to fill your flower borders with colour and interest. Examples include: Calendula, Candytuft, Clarkia, Annual Chrysanthemums, Cornflower, Cosmos, Eschscholzia, Limnanthes, Godetia, Larkspur, Nasturtium, Night Scented Stock, Nigella, Annual Poppies, Sunflowers.
Don’t forget to plant summer flowering bulbs, such as Lilies, Dahlias and Gladioli. They give welcome interest in the garden until the end of summer and most can be grown in pots as well as borders. Many Lilies are beautifully scented, so are perfect for patios or near doorways.
This is the best time to re-pot any pot bound houseplants. Use good quality houseplant compost for best results and continue to feed actively growing plants.
Adult birds will benefit from supplementary feeding as they are busy finding food for their chicks, so this is an important time to provide extra food. Have a mix of feeders for different birds if possible – a feeding station is a great money and space saving option.
Providing water at more than one level can also be a great benefit to visiting wildlife. A gravel filled tray of water will see lots of visits from honeybees, while children might like to experiment with a hoverfly lagoon – a citizen science project organised by Sussex University. Find out more at www.thebuzzclub.uk
Grow your own – April gardening tips
Don’t miss out on our April guide reminding you which seeds and young veg plants are suitable for planting this month. If you can’t see a copy amongst our seed displays and young vegetable plants please let a member of staff know.
This is a busy time for vegetable growers and it is a good idea to have a system in place so you know what you’ve sown and when you’ve sown it.
If seeds are suitable for sowing in succession just sow enough to supply you with enough of a crop for a few weeks and then sow more the next month. This will help avoid annoying gluts and shortages.
To save time thinning out, consider using seed tape – just cut it to the length you want. It’s great for beginners or children as it is so quick and easy to use.
If you fancy growing your own fruit, this is a good month to plant pot grown trees and bushes. Some can be grown in containers – come and see us at Poundbury Gardens and check with a member of staff to see what varieties would be best for you.
Checklist for what to plant in April
A quick ‘what to plant today’ checklist for your home grown fruit and veg.
Outdoors in prepared soil:
- Beetroot, broad beans, carrots, cabbages, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, peas, radishes, spring onions, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips,
- Plant onion sets, shallots, potatoes,
- Plant out young vegetable plants bought in strips from the garden centre
In trays/pots/modules in a greenhouse, grow house, poly tunnel or cold frame for earlier crops:
- Kale, cauliflower, summer cabbage, lettuce,
Indoors/in a propagator:
- Tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, cucumber, marrows, courgettes,
- Use seed tape for quick, easy sowing and no thinning out
- Sow vegetable seeds in succession (if suitable) to avoid gluts and shortages
- Plant container grown fruit trees and bushes before the weather gets too hot
We want your tips
We would love to share your gardening tips on what works in your garden or allotment. Please send any advice to firstname.lastname@example.org