Our gardens will slowly start coming back to life this month and now is a good time to get rid of weeds and prepare your soil. With the clocks going forward at the end of the month, evening gardening is back!
Get busy with these vegetable garden tasks this April:
- Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds.
- Dig a 5-cm (or more) layer of compost, well-rotted manure, or green waste into beds.
- Cover prepared soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for planting.
- Build raised beds to take the bending out of growing vegetables.
- Harvest asparagus spears when they’re no more than 18 cm tall.
- Support pea and bean plants now. For quick and easy pea supports, push some twiggy sticks around your plants.
- Thin carrot seedlings to achieve good-sized carrots; do this in the evening when fewer carrot flies are around.
These are your lawn-care jobs for April:
- Sow lawn seed now on well-prepared soil and keep the soil moist while it germinates.
- For an instant lawn, lay new turf this month, and keep it moist until it’s established.
- Repair any bare patches in your lawn — try sowing lawn repair grass seed.
- Apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn, for a boost at the start of the season.
- Apply specialist lawn weed killer to your lawn wherever moss and weeds are a problem.
- Brush away any worm casts on dry days.
- Mow your lawn more regularly, as required. Lower your mower blades towards the end of the month.
- Recut lawn edges to straighten them up.
- Install lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.
- Aerate compacted areas of lawn, by spiking it with a garden fork.
- Hedgehogs, frogs, toads, and thrushes’ prey on these pests, so make sure you encourage these creatures in the garden. If you lay a flat stone on the ground, you will soon be able to see whether the thrushes have been using it as a place to smash snail shells. Put out additional food (e.g. tinned dog food) for hedgehogs.
- Don’t forget to leave water dishes and bird baths for the bees and the birds. They all need lots of water.
- Sow a wildflower meadow to encourage pollinators.
And here are some other jobs to be getting on with this month:
- Check compost bins to see if you have any compost that’s ready to use.
- Improve the drainage of heavy soils by incorporating plenty of organic matter.
- Top up raised beds with compost and good quality topsoil.
- Top dress containers with fresh compost. If your containers are already full, replace the top 5 cm of old compost with fresh stuff.
- Keep on top of weeding now that the weather is warming up. Run a hoe through beds and borders.
- Apply weed killer to perennial weeds in paving and patios.
- Look out for signs of pests and diseases, early prevention is easier than curing an infestation.
- Remove dirt from your paths and paving before summer arrives. Use a pressure washer or special patio cleaner.
- Buy fresh potting compost and store it in a cool, dry place in preparation for the season ahead.
- Invest in water butts. Position them under a downpipe to make the most of rainfall.
- Top up bird baths and bird feeding stations to encourage birds into your garden.