Pippa Greenwood: Haxnicks gardening tips for April
Here are my gardening tips for April. My veg seeds are planted and I'm now thinking of colour for my summer garden.
Brighten up gaps in flower beds and borders, or create a whole new splash of colour using some hardy annual flower seeds. For just a pound or two per packet it is an amazingly inexpensive way to produce a host of stunning flowers to make a gorgeous display THIS summer. Just choose any seeds which say Hardy Annual (sometimes just shown abbreviated to HA) on the packet and follow the instructions. Choose any marked as being 'good for attracting bees' and you’ll be doing these lovely insects a favour too. Some of my favourites for this are cornflowers, poppies, Tagetes, Phacelia, nasturtiums and sunflowers. But there are a lot more too. You can always buy a really wide range and then share seed packets with friends and family. Covering the sown areas with Micromesh helps to stop birds eating the seeds, or local cats using the lovely freshly turned soil as a litter tray!
Potatoes can be planted now. Just make sure that you label the rows with the variety name really clearly. Potato plants look very similar when they emerge and you’ll need to know which are your earlies and which are your lates, so you can harvest them at the right time. I’d even suggest making a sketch of what’s planted where so if the plants grow over the labels or they get buried as you earth up the crop in the weeks ahead, you’ll still know what’s where. Any you planted out last month may need earthing up now – just draw the soil from between the rows so that it covers any emerging shoots or foliage. The tubers I planted in my Potato Planters are a growing quite strongly now. So, regularly adding a layer of compost to cover the shoots is needed.
Does your lawn look as if someone has attacked it…with yellowed patches and all ripped up? Is so, chances are that you’ve seen magpies, crows, the local fox or badger or even your own dog frantically digging away at it? Its all too easy to assume that the feathered or furry critter is the problem, but in reality they’re only the side effect. At this time of year the root (excuse the pun!) of the problem is often leatherjackets, the larvae of daddy-long-legs or crane flies. Possibly the least appealing looking thing you’ll find in the garden, they seem to have five-star meal appeal to many animals. They then excavate your lawn to get at them. The result is a lawn disaster zone.
The best way to sort the problem is to treat with nematodes – they’re harmless to wildlife, pets and humans and are easily applied using either a watering can with a coarse rose or a hose-end applicator. You can buy them from www.pippagreenwood.com and we’ll get them sent out by first class post so you can get them onto the lawn ASAP. Just remember that the ground needs to be moist when you apply them, and kept that way for a few weeks after application.
So these are my gardening tips for April - I do hope you enjoy the warmer temperatures and avoid the April showers.
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