Blog » Spring is Here! Lots of Jobs in the Garden
Jobs in the garden
Spring brings longer days and warmer weather but strong winds and icy showers will set back any early spring growth. There are always jobs to do preparing for the time when the sun comes out and temperatures start to climb. Some gardeners cover areas in the vegetable patch with polythene or fleece to help warm the soil for early sowing or planting. Lay manure over the areas where peas and beans and flowers are to be planted later
Complete the pruning of wisteria, summer-flowering Clematis and late-flowering shrubs such as Buddliea. The sap is rising and you will be cutting away important energy if this is left too late.
Cut back the remains of last year's perennials and clean up the beds and borders. A top dressing of bone meal and mulch will improve the soil for next season’s growth.
Hold off from pruning evergreens until April as they need their foliage to kickstart growth in warmer weather. Remove up to a third of spent flowering stems back to old wood on winter-flowering shrubs, such as forsythia and jasmine, as soon as the flowers fade. This will promote fresh new wood for next year.
Buy seed potatoes so they can ‘chit’ before planting out. Leave them in a cool, bright room to promote the sprouts. Early varieties can be planted but they will need to be covered with fleece or straw to prevent frost damage to early shoots .
Onions and shallots can be planted but wait for the sun to warm the soil temperature and avoid planting if the soil is water logged. Use a dibber to insert the sets so that their necks are just below the soil. Shallots are better sitting on top of the soil. Cover with nets or check regularly and replace any that have been disturbed by birds until the roots have a hold.
Summer flowering plants which grow from tubers or bulbs should be potted up and started off in a glasshouse or frame or on the windowsill. Cuttings are easy if taken from Dahlias when the shoots are just a few inches long, and with warmth they will be rooted and ready to plant out when the ground is frost-free. Re-pot Geraniums and Fuchsias that you have kept frost free overwinter and gently water to promote new shoots. Pot up begonias, lilies and gladiolus.
Young perennials, fruit bushes and shrubs can be purchased at this time and should be potted on to encourage root growth so that they can be successfully planted out when the soil is warmer.
Primroses and Pansies are bedding plants that will flower happily, bringing much needed colour to pots and borders in the early spring.
Many flowers and vegetables can be sown on small pots and tray and brought on indoors on the windowsill if you do not have a green house. As soon as the soil reaches 6degC you can start to sow directly outside. Sweet peas and broad beans can be sown first, and though the first of the salad can go in now you get better results if you warm the ground first with plastic or cloches. Early sowings of mustard, rocket and cut-and-come-again salad are some of the most delicious mouthfuls of the year, so sow half a row to start if it looks like the weather is with us, but look out for the threat of frost and use cloches or a cold frame for protection.
New shoots attract slugs and there are various ways to control them. Pellets sprinkled sparingly will keep them at bay. Sluggo by Neudorff is an organic pellet (ferric phosphate) which poses no risk to animals and insects. Physical barriers around pots or specimen plants will also prevent slug damage.