Gardening Notes for March & April

March

We are now getting to the most hectic time in the garden and greenhouse.  It’s now time to sow, divide, transplant and repot.

Divide and transplant herbaceous perennials; with those that are more woody, cut the stems from the main crown with a sharp knife, being careful not to damage the roots.  For the not so woody, they can be divided by using 2 hand forks back to back, then prized apart.  Finish pruning roses if not completed.  Take cuttings of geraniums and pelagoniums.  Plant 3 or 4 around the edge of a 4” pot of sandy compost.

Now is the time to lay turf as long as the ground is dry enough to get a fine tilth.  Pat them down tight with the back of a spade or roll both ways with a garden roller.  Prick off any seedlings from earlier sowings; make more successional sowings of early seeds: cabbage, lettuce etc., in the greenhouse or if the soil is dry and light, in the garden.  Sow more tender bedding plants in unheated greenhouse.  Report ferns and foliage plants – March is the best time for doing this.  Make a sowing of broadbeans.  If the soil is warm enough sow onion seed for your main crop.  Sow cucumber now – this will prove useful for your weeds late on.

Spray apple trees against blossom weevil.  Sow herbs: thyme, sage, marjoram, in unheated greenhouse in small pots for transporting later.  Sow peas outside but not all at once; space sowings about every 14-21 days).  Plant gladioli but again spread this over 4 to 6 weeks to lengthen the flowering period.

If you want a new bed of mint, now is the time to plant it.  Lift some old plants and divide them out in a fairly open space.  This month also plant hardy annuals in trays in a frame or cold greenhouse.

At the end of the month plant early potatoes in the garden but not with a dibber as this leaves a hole under them.  Plant with a rowel or spade.  Sow carrots and leeks outdoors, also lettuce.  Sow a few more French beans in pots in greenhouse for successional crop.

Now is the time to graft apple and pears if the stock and the piece to be grafted are roughly the same size, use a whip graft.  If there is a big size difference, use a rind graft.

At the start of April, it’s time to get the lawn mower out.  Keep the mower high for the first cut.  Also time to give the grass a good lawn raking and treat with a good lawn fertiliser.

Start to harden off seedlings in the greenhouse.  Propagate any shrubs you want by layering: take an outside branch that will bend down and make an upward cut that can be pegged down in the soil and cover with a good compost.  Then stake the rest upwards.  Most will have formed a good root by the Autumn when it can be cut from the main plant and set where you want it.  Tip:  always remember to take the broken crocks or stones from the roots when reporting plants.  Always clean your tools because you will be the next one to use them, and a clean tool makes gardening easier.

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