Calendar of Garden Work for April

WHATEVER work is due to be done in April, seed sowing must go on, because a late start can spoil a display in the flower garden or cause vegetables to be woody and poor.

DECORATIVE GARDEN

Finish off the planting of herbaceous perennials and fork over the border lightly, incorporating a little rotted compost. Do not mulch herbaceous plants yet, as it is too early in the season.

This is the last chance, until October, to plant evergreen or coniferous hedges. Evergreen shrubs and trees can also be planted on well-prepared ground and staked to help the young plants to establish themselves. If cold winds persist, protect the newly planted shrubs with a shelter made of dry sacking or polythene sheeting.

Cut back any evergreen shrubs that have become straggly to encourage new growth from the base.

Prune established conifers when necessary, using secateurs and not shears.

Prune early-flowering shrubs such as forsythias as soon as they have finished flowering.

With cloche protection, in very sheltered districts, some half-hardy annuals such as antirrhinums and callistephus can be sown out-of-doors.

Sow the seeds of hardy annuals if this was not done last month. Annual borders need careful marking out after preparing the seed bed. Draw irregular shapes on the soil surface with a stick, and label each area with the name of the plants destined to be grown there. Prepare small twiggy pea sticks for staking once the seedlings have germinated.

If daffodils have finished flowering, nip off the old flower heads so that the plants will not be exhausted in producing seed. Leave the stems and leaves, which can be knotted together to keep the garden tidy.

Sow grass seed for new lawns or to renovate bare patches on old lawns, provided the soil is not still cold and wet. If established lawns are weedy give a dressing of lawn sand or selective weedkiller used according to the manufacturer’s directions. Roll and mow the lawn, keeping the blades of the machine set high.

Plant new water-lilies and other aquatics or reorganise the existing planting of the pool.

Start dahlia tubers in the greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out later in the month. They will then produce good extra blooms for cutting.

Plant alpines, pansies and violas.

To start a herb garden, sow seeds of herbs, or push in stolons of mint or rooted cuttings of sage.

VEGETABLE GARDEN

Continue to sow vegetable seeds, making a succession of small sowings of each type rather than one big one. Thin the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to be dealt with and hoe regularly to suppress weeds. Sprinkle with a 4 per cent calomel dust along the rows of onion seedlings when they are being thinned to prevent attack from onion fly. After thinning, press back the soil with the feet.

Plant out autumn-sown cabbages and cauliflowers that have been overwintered under cloches or in frames.

Plant tubers of potatoes and seedlings of broad beans and lettuces.

Prepare marrow beds and incorporate plenty of manure.

Inspect established asparagus beds for early spears to cut, and plant crowns in new beds if this was not done in March.

Provide support for peas by pushing in along the rows of seedlings pea sticks gathered earlier in the year. Use sticks about 6 in. taller than the ultimate height of the peas.

Remove gradually the covering from rhubarb which has been forced under boxes for early supplies.

On well-prepared seed beds sow parsley, salsify and colewort, as well as spinach beet and kohl rabi.

FRUIT GARDEN

Spray apples and pears against aphids, apple blossom weevil and capsid bug, according to the progress of the blossoms.

Thin out, in stages, the fruits of out-door peaches and nectarines growing against a wall, bearing in mind that there will be a natural drop of fruitlets during the next few weeks which will act as a further thinning.

Graft fruit trees as early in the month as the weather will allow.

Bark ring over-vigorous apple and pear trees by cutting out a ring of bark J in. wide all round the trunk, or a half ring on one side and another about 6 in. lower on the opposite side of the trunk. The result will be a better formation of fruit buds and the cropping capacity of the tree will be increased.

GREENHOUSE

Ventilate when strong sunshine sends the temperature soaring.

Either put the January-sown tomatoes into their final pots (9 or 10 in.) or plant them out directly into the border. Alternatively, put them into bottomless pots if ring culture is being carried out. Support them with stakes and tie them carefully.

Sow seeds of sweet corn in boxes and prick off into other boxes as soon as the seedlings are large enough to plant. The atmosphere should be kept buoyant once the seedlings have reached the pricking-off stage.

Continue to prick off all seedlings as they get big enough to handle and keep the atmosphere buoyant for them. Harden off seedlings that are to be planted out at the end of the month or in May, taking particular care that they are protected at night, as cold nights are a common, though sometimes unexpected, occurrence at this time of the year.

Plant out February- or March-sown cucumbers into made-up beds in the greenhouse or frame, and tie each to a small stake.

When nerines cease growing, reduce the amount of water given to them. Rest the bulbs completely when the foliage withers.

Take leaf cuttings of Begonia rex.

Sow seeds of herbaceous plants in a cool greenhouse or frame.

Sow ridge cucumbers.

Late-flowering chrysanthemums and perpetual flowering carnations raised from cuttings will be ready for repotting. Keep them growing slowly but evenly and shade them from sudden bright sunshine.

Take cuttings of dahlias as they are ready, and insert them round the edges of small pots filled with sandy compost.

Leave the tubers in moist peat to produce more growths from which cuttings can be made.

To produce flowers during the winter, sow early batches of primula seed in pans and maintain a temperature of 60° F. (16° C), keeping the pans covered until after germination.

26. September 2013 by admin
Categories: Garden Calendar, Gardening History, Plant Biology, Top Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Calendar of Garden Work for April

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