It’s time to get busy, busy, busy!
With Spring arriving this month, longer and warmer days, there is now plenty of things to do in the garden.
Check the lawn on dry days – does it need a little trim? If it does, get the mower out on the highest setting – but only if the ground is dry enough!
Hoe those beds: lift as many weeds as possible, making sure the roots are lifted too. The earlier you start with this, the easier it will be to control them in the coming months.
Straighten any lawn edges, it’s amazing what a difference those clean edges will make to your garden’s appearance!
Divide your summer-flowering perennial plants now. This way you’ll have extra plants for other areas of the garden and the plants benefit from being divided every few years.
Consider some slug traps before planting, and use beer to attract the slugs to the traps. You can make your own traps using glass jars buried into the ground. Seedlings are particularly susceptible to attention from slugs, so trap as many as you can and go out on mild evenings with a torch and a bucket – you won’t get them all, but preventing as many as you can will help your crop yield and planting success.
If the ground is cold, warm the soil with a cloche and start planting when the heat has started to seep into the ground.
Sow seeds for crops including lettuce, carrots, broad beans, turnip, spinach, parsnips and beetroot, and plant strawberries, asparagus, shallots, onions and early potatoes. You can also sow in the greenhouse or indoors veg including spring onions, early cauliflower, summer cabbage and tomatoes.
Don’t forget, if you want a successful harvest, particularly fruit, give bees a good reason to visit your garden. Plant flowers that attract our bee friends so your produce benefits from the cross-pollination.
Get planting those summer-flowering bulbs, including dahlia and lily. You can also plant snowdrops ready for next year.
Prune back any perennials, to make way for the new growth to come through.
Bush and shrub roses can also now be pruned. Remove any unhealthy-looking parts, and then prune the plants into a goblet shape, about 12 to 18 inches. As before, cut just above a bud facing away from the centre of the plant, in a diagonal cut with sharp, clean secateurs.
Buddleia can be pruned back to 15 cms – it feels brutal, but it will come back quickly. It’s also the last time to prune Wisteria, and it needs to be pruned to keep flowering each year. If it does not get pruned, the plant puts all of its energy into leaf growth, and therefore less flowers.
If you have a water heater, now is the time to remove it.
Make sure any debris is cleared away, and turn on your water features to start moving the water. If you don’t have any oxygenating plants, you can add them now spring has arrived.
Frogs will soon be making an appearance, and they are a great slug pest controller, so if you’re happy with frogs in your garden do make sure there is some shelter near to any water for them to survive.