Jobs to do in April

"April showers bring forth May flowers."
"An April flood carries away the frog and her brood."

An explosion of colour, leaves and life!

The Bird song is staggering. The Butterflies an absolute delight to see. The Spring wild flowers stunning. Bluebells and now the blossom on the Apples, pears, cherries etc.

This is the seed sowing month for so many vegetables. Either sow into pots, seed trays/inserts or direct in the ground. Clear any weeds, tickle over the surface with a fork, rake out the lumps, break these up with the head of the rake laid flat on the ground and tamp up and down crushing the lumps. Then rake the soil lightly to a fine tilth/crumbly texture. A wooden board to work off is a great help. Create a shallow furrow with a trowel using the edge of the plank, water your mini furrow, it only needs to be 2cms deep for most seeds. Then you are ready to sow - please read the seed packet for sowing depth. Germination works a lot better if you moisten the ground first then sow the seeds .Less chance of the seeds getting washed away. Top tip for lettuce is to sow virtually on the surface of the soil – they need light to germinate!!
I’m lucky enough to have an allotment, so it’s been a busy time planting potatoes, onion sets, shallots, peas, etc. Once seeds and plants are sown please cover with fleece or Enviromesh to keep birds and insects of - a net curtain also works well!!

Feeding & Watering –
I’ve been busy watering planted tubs and containers. Now is when plants need extra feeding when all their new growth is happening and to encourage more flowers and fruit. Use Vitax Q4 All purpose liquid, it has added seaweed and trace elements.
Rhododendrons, Camellias and Azaleas use Ericaeous Feed to help with flowering and promote good growth after flowering.
Strawberries - coming into flower use Vitax Organic Strawberry Fertiliser. It contains potash to increase yields and strong healthy plants.
Roses – Very hungry plants. Either feed with a granular fertiliser Organic Rose Food or Liquid Organic Rose Food.
There is Clematis food too and don’t forget the veg patch. Growmore, Chicken Manure or 6 x Natural Plant Feed.
Make sure you apply fertiliser evenly and read the label properly. I’ve seen many plants scorched by being over zealous or heavy handed!

Composting – Best compost is made from 50% green matter (grass, veg, peelings) to 50% brown matter (shredded prunings, leaves, straw, newspaper, cardboard). Mix thoroughly so you don’t have soggy layers of smelly grass and keep moist. Cover with old carpet to exclude light and to encourage heat. Old wooden pallets make good compost bins, you can add Vitax Compost Maker to accelerate and increase the breakdown of the matter.
Lawns – Keep your grass longer. It will stand up to drought and higher temperatures, take more wear and tear. You will also get more clover flowering which helps feed the grass….. Now is a good time to aerate with a fork for a small lawn or large areas do a bit at a time!! This can be done by pushing the fork into the ground with your foot and gently pulling back on the handle, with out braking the handle!! The ground will lift a bit and crack the surface, improving drainage and critically getting more air to the roots of the grass, it’s a good workout too!! Rake moss out too with a Spring tine rake or Scarifier.
Other Jobs – Tie in Climbers, Clematis, Jasmin, Roses etc. Put in plant supports for herbaceous plants, especially Peonies.
Weeds need regular hoeing, a dry, sunny day works well.
Watch out for late frosts they can do a lot of damage – keep fleece handy.
Put up Apple & Plum moth traps.
Repot plants into new compost – John Innes No 3 for mature shrubs/herbaceous. Use Ericaeous Compost with John Innes for Japanese Acers, Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas.
Feed box hedging with Buxus Feed.
Shading for greenhouses – now is the time to spray on or paint on Summer Cloud Greenhouse Shading.
Plant out Sweet Peas.
Dead head daffodils and tulips, feed with Growmore.

Please do leave a scruffy area for the wildlife, hedgehogs, frogs, toads and good guys.
A bare patch of sunny ground is perfect to sow Wildflower seeds to encourage Bees, beneficial insects and Butterflies. Keep bird feeders clean and topped up if you can. Bird baths clean with fresh water. The antics of birds in a large plant saucer or dustbin lid are very entertaining to watch.
Enjoy this fabulous Spring weather. Use your senses, listen to the birdsong and identify what you are listening to. You may be surprised to see what you have on or in your neighbourhood.