Gardening jobs for May

TREES , SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • Prune Spring flowering shrubs
  • sow hardy annuals such as sunflowers, nasturtiums and Nigella direct into the ground.
  • Plant up hanging baskets and containers with bedding, if you have a bright , frost free place to keep them until they can go outside later in the month if you live in the South where the risk of frosts should have passed.
  • Improve lawns. There is still time in early May to over-seed patchy lawns.

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS

  • Sow little and often. Continue successional sowing of carrots, beetroot, spinach and other salad crops. Many herbs can be direct sown in late May such as Parsley and Coriander.
  • Protect soft fruit. Cover currant bushes and raspberry canes with taut anti-bird netting.
  • Tender beans. Sow climbing, runner and French beans under cover for planting out in June.
  • Frequent weeding. Weed around vegetables, especially onions, leek and garlic.
  • Gooseberry health. Regularly check gooseberry bushes for gooseberry sawfly caterpillars and pick them off the leaves.
  • Control apple pests. Place pheromone traps in apple and pear trees to monitor attacks by codling moths that cause ‘maggoty’ fruit.
  • Earth up potatoes.When the new stems reach about 20cm draw up the soil to cover the lower half of the stems. This helps to protect young growth from late frosts and prevents young tubers turning green and poisonous in the light.

GREENER GARDENING

  • Attracting pollinators. look out for those seasonal plants that are attractive to pollinators such as Antirrhinum, Calendula ,heliotrope, Nicotinia and single poppies.
  • Play host to butterflies. Plant Buddleja davidii to attract butterflies However avoid planting if you live in the countryside as it can self seed and spread prolifically and out compete native plants.
  • Help birds. Put up nesting boxes for birds that are still to nest in late spring and early summer, such as finches and swifts.
  • Check your pond for tadpoles and for newts laying eggs. Make sure there is a shelf , stone or ramp so that wildlife can safely enter and exit the water.
  • Wildflower lawn. Leave an area of the lawn unmown or mow paths into it so you can enjoy the wildflowers normally hidden in the turf.
  • Clear pond weed. Remove duck weed and blanket weed, but before composting leave it to dry by the side of the pond so any invertebrates in it can scurry back into the water.

 

Gardening jobs for April

As the weather warms up it is time to get sowing, pruning and preparing your garden for the exciting season ahead.

TREES, SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • Take basal cuttings of herbaceous perennials such as Delphinium and Phlox. Take a sharp knife to remove sturdy shoots, pot up and place in a propagator or just put a plastic bag over the pot.
  • Prune hardy Fuchsia back to healthy buds.
  • Sow sweet peas outdoors and plant out autumn sown plants once they are hardened off.
  • Ensure vibrant winter colour by cutting back the stems of Cornus and Salix now. Cut 5 to 10 cm from the ground in mature plants.
  • Plant hardy container grown trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants now while the soil is moist and warming up.
  • Inspect new shoots on plants regularly for signs of early aphids or other pests.
  • Splitting pond plants. Divide any overgrown marginal or bog plants now to prevent over crowding.

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS

  • Hardy vegetables such as carrot, beetroot, cut and come again lettuce and spinach can be direct sown into prepared soil now.
  • Pot up pepper and tomato seedlings into individual pots once they have their first true leaves.
  • Sow courgette, sweetcorn and squash onto a bright windowsill or greenhouse for planting out when the danger of frost has passed at the end of May.
  • Sow baby leaf salads and herbs every 2 to 3 weeks for a long cropping period.
  • Early asparagus spears are ready when they are around 15cm tall. Cut just below the surface with a sharp knife.
  • Plant out chitted potatoes.
  • Carefully mulch around fruit trees to suppress weeds and retail moisture through the summer.
  • begin feeding citrus plants.
  • Where practical protect fruit blossom from late frosts by covering with fleece when frost is forecaste.

GREENER GARDENING

  • if you have a bare area in the garden or an area of lawn that you can leave unmown sow wildflowers.
  • Keep birdfeeders clean to help prevent the spread of disease. Now the nesting season has begun, avoid feeding whole nuts that may choke fledglings. Rinse out water containers and fill with fresh water every day.
  • Check compost bins for wildlife.
  • Be aware of nesting birds. It is important to carefully check for nesting birds before pruning hedges as it can frighten the parent birds away and leave fledglings or unhatched eggs abandoned.
  • If you want clover and other species to flower to provide early pollen for insects, either mow your lawn on a high setting or leave an area unmown.

 

 

Gardening jobs for March

Make the most of longer days to prepare your garden for the coming season.

TREES, SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • Lift and divide summer flowering perennials. This helps to promote vigorous growth and makes new plants for free!
  • Now is a good time to move evergreen shrubs.
  • Remove the dead flower heads from Daffodils but leave the stem and Leaves to die back naturally.
  • Start hoeing bare soil regularly to keep annual weeds in check.
  • Assess your lawn and even out bumps and dips.

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS.

  • Plant one year old dormant asparagus this month. Prepare the ground with well rotted manure.
  • Harvest spring cabbages and cut a deep cross into the remaining stem to get a second crop of tiny cabbages or spring greens.
  • Prune figs to promote growth.
  • Prepare for sowing. Cover seedbeds with cloches or horticultural fleece to warm the soil during the day and to slow down heat loss at night.
  • Divide perennial herbs. Help to maintain the vigour of herbs such as chives, mint and lovage by dividing clumps every few years.
  • Finish pruning fruit trees and bushes before leaf or flower buds burst open.
  • Plant up potted up strawberry plants into well rotted organic matter.

GREENER GARDENING

  • Remove excess winter debris from your pond. Algal growth can be controlled by adding a bale of barley straw or a mesh bag with the straw in it allowing approximately 50g per square metre.
  • Direct sow hardy annuals such as cornflowers and marigolds in spare sunny areas of soil.
  • Check for pests such as aphids and caterpillars which can be a problem as the weather gets warmer. Check plants regularly and remove any pests by hand.
  • Plant Comfrey and use the leaves to make liquid fertiliser and it is also a useful groudcover plant as it spreads quickly.
  • Mulch bare soil.
  • Consider leaving a small area of your garden as a wildlife area, even a small patch tucked away somewhere will be beneficial.
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Gardening jobs for February

There is plenty to do to prepare your garden for the warmer months just around the corner.

TREES, SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • There is still time to plant lily bulbs for borders and pots.
  • Start dahlia tubers into growth. Plant tubers in a shallow tray of potting compost in a light , warm place. When shoots reach about an inch longdivide the tubers, pot them up and grow on in frost free conditions until planting out in early June.
  • Start feeding roses with a general purpose or rose fertiliser.
  • Prune Wisteria by cutting back side shoots and shortening the summer pruned shoots further to two or three buds.
  • Tidy herbaceous perennials, old stems can be completely removed.
  • Deadhead winter bedding.
  • Seed sowing , sweet peas can be started off on a windowsill

FRUIT, VEGETABLES AND HERBS.

  • Prune autumn fruiting raspberries, canes can be cut right down to the ground.
  • Apply a general purpose fertiliser to trees, bushes and canes.
  • Plant bare root cane fruit.
  • Sow tomato and cucumber seeds for cultivation under glass in a bright warm place
  • Chit seed potatoes of early cultivars.
  • Prune citrus trees, thin out overcrowded branches and prune back straggly branches by two thirds.
  • Protect flowers of peaches, nectarines and apricots with horticultural fleece.

GREENER GARDENING

  • Deciduous hedges should be pruned this month ahead of bird breeding season.
  • Chose UK online suppliers of seeds and plants to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
  • Now is a good time to install a compost bin in a shady spot on bare earth to assist drainage and access to beneficial soil organisms.

 

 

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Gardening Jobs for January

Even on the coldest days there are things that you can be doing to ensure that you get the best out of your garden in the months ahead.

TREES , SHRUBS AND FLOWERS

  • Cut back vigorous climbers such as Virginia creeper to keep them within their allotted space on your wall.
  • Remove some of the older leaves from early flowering Iris to see the flowers better.
  • Ventilate greenhouses on mild sunny days to help reduce fungal infections.
  • Use a non toxic disinfectant such as Citrox, or hot soapy water to clean seed trays ready for Spring.
  • If it snows then gently brush the snow off hedges and branches of trees and shrubs to prevent damage.
  • Cut back the leaves of Helleborus x hybridus before the end of this month to reveal flowers and to help to control hellebore leaf spot disease.

FRUIT , VEGETABLES AND HERBS

  • Prune grapevines if you have not already done so this month.
  • cover rhubarb crowns with straw and a traditional clay forcing pot or upturned bucket.
  • Plan where you are going to grow specific plants bearing in mind that crop rotation helps to prevent the build up of crop specific pests.
  • Evergreen herbs such as Rosemary and Sage, and winter salads such as rocket can be harvested through the winter.
  • Seed potatoes and onion sets will be available this month.
  • As food becomes scarce birds are attracted to developing flower buds, cover smaller trees and bushes with netting.

GREENER GARDENING

  • Start saving containers for seed sowing, such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and fruit punnets. Wash well and add drainage holes.
  • Continue to feed the birds as food is scarce this time of year. Keep bird feeders topped up as they can waste valuable energy going to an empty feed station where they are used to finding food.
  • Take care with grit and salt as it can damage plants.
  • if fencing has been wind damaged,consider replacing it with a hedge which will reduce air and noise pollution whilst providing a habitat for wildlife.

 

 

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