Your Gardening Tasks for April
April is one of my favourite months gardening-wise, as after a long winter, I can finally get properly stuck-in to gardening. It’s a busy month for seed sowing, but it’s also the month that I must practise the most self control; as space in the greenhouse quickly gets filled up! Already, my windowsills are covered in seedlings and the shelves are all taken over by trays of young plants. Visits to the garden centres during this time of year are also the most dangerous for my bank balance, as I get swept in with all of the gorgeous young plants that they’ve carefully grown under cover throughout the early Spring months!
1 – Pot on those seedlings!
If you began sowing indoors during February and March, your seedlings should be ready to be transplanted from your Seed Trays into Individual Pots. To do this, very carefully lift the seedling by the leaves, rather than the stem, as if the stem breaks, the seedling won’t survive.
Next gently place each seedling in its own little pot, so that it has the space to grow without having to compete with any other plants; I often use a sharpie to help tease the seedling into it’s new home! Put your seedlings in a sunny position and ensure their Compost stays moist.
2 – Begin sowing outdoors
Once the final frost of the season is out of the way (fingers crossed for no May frosts!), you can begin to get sowing outdoors. April is a great time to sow Herb Seeds directly outdoors, as well as hardy annuals such as oxalis and clarkia.
You’ll need a Wooden Dibber which includes a measuring scale, so that you can accurately sow your seeds to the right depth. It’s best to sow your seeds into Seed Sowing Compost, as this is finer than regular compost, making it easier for the seedlings to emerge. Some of your larger seedlings that are frost tolerant can be planted outside now too; such as broad beans, Pak Choi, peas, and also your sweet peas too!
3 – Add aquatic plants to your pond
Aquatic plants, such as waterlilies, irises, rush and water mint can be added to your pond this month. The benefits of aquatic plants are that they can help clean the pond water by keeping control of algae populations; they add to the biodiversity of your pond; and they can brighten up an otherwise colourless part of your garden!
Be sure to use Aquatic Compost, as this is free of herbicides and fertilisers which may damage pond life.
4 -Harden off your seedlings
The seedlings you painstakingly grew on your window sill indoors will gradually need to get used to the temperature outdoors before they are moved outdoors full-time. Start by placing your seedlings outside for an hour or two per day, in an area sheltered from the wind. Gradually increase the time that the seedlings are left outside, until after a week or so, they can be left outside full-time. Make sure you continue to spritz your seedlings with your Plant Mister during the hardening off period!
5 – Care for your citrus plants
As we get further into spring, your Citrus Trees may need some attention. Spring is the best time to repot citrus trees; so check whether your citrus tree is outgrowing its current container. The best way to tell if a plant is in need of repotting, have a look at the underside of the plant and see whether the roots are growing through the drainage holes. If they are, it may be time to get a Larger Pot for your plant!
April is also a good time to begin feeding your citrus tree, as they are fairly hungry plants and will need extra nutrients (choose a Feed high in nitrogen) as they enter the growing season. If your citrus tree doesn’t need moving to a larger pot, it is a good idea to remove some of the old compost around it and replace it with new compost, which will be much more nutrient rich.
6 – Deadhead spring bulbs
When your daffodils and tulips begin to look a bit sad, cut back any spent flowers at the base of the stem. This will ensure that the plant puts energy back into the bulb for next year’s display, rather than wasting energy on making seeds. While you’re at it, you may also want to cut some of the healthy flowers to make a cut-flower display in a gorgeous Handpainted Vase using your elegant Flower Scissors.
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