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.
- 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.