>April Gardening Tips

April, Week One

1. Time Saving Tip: Use a “ weed and feed” treatment on the lawn. The weedkiller and fertilizer are combined in one application.

2. Money Saving Tip: Use twigs off trees, especially birch as support for peas and herbaceous plants.

3. Dig a deep trench for sweet pea plants. Line the base with newspaper to help hold water and backfill with a mixture of soil and moisture retentive compost.

4. Remove any growths which appear on the stems of standard roses below the grafted head. Cut them as close to the main stem as possible.

5. Rake the lawn with a wire rake before cutting the grass. Any runners of buttercup and clover will be raised and cut off reducing the rate of spread.

6. Where bindweed is a problem among shrubs insert canes. The weed will grow up the canes where it can be sprayed with weedkiller without damaging the shrubs.

7. Old hedges are a constant source of weeds. Dig a trench 18 inches (45 cm ) deep in front of the hedge and line it with polythene to stop the weed roots spreading out into the garden.

April, Week Two

1. Time Saving Tip: Fill a hessian sack or an old pair of tights with chopped up barley straw and place in the pond with a weight to make it sink. It will control algae and green water.

2. Money Saving Tip: Some shrubs such as camellia, rhododendron and hamamelis are expensive. They will root by layering branches which bend to ground level. It will take at least 12 months but you will have a large rooted plant.

3. An effective method of preventing an attack of carrot fly is to surround the young plants with a 24 inch (60 cm ) barrier of horticultural fleece. They can't fly over the “wall” to lay their eggs.

4. If you collect rainwater off the roof use an old pair of tights over the end of the gutter to strain out any debris or leaves.

5. Sow a few lettuce every two weeks to have a continuous supply through the summer and autumn.

6. Don't buy cheap grow bags for your tomatoes.You get what you pay for and it may contain peat without any nutrients.

7. This is a good time to repot house plants. Use a pot one size up and leave the top inch free of compost to allow for watering.

8. Newly planted hedges should be pruned back by one third to encourage the plants to become bushy with good side shoots.

April, Week Three

This weeks' tips are methods of controlling slugs and snails. Good luck!
1. Time Saving Tip: Training wall grown shrubs and fruit trees to wires is quicker than individually tying branches to masonry nails.

2. Money Saving Tip: After burning branches use the wood ash round the root area of fruit trees.It is high in potash.

3. Surround treasured plants with coarse grit or crushed egg shells. The don't like crawling over the surface on their bare tummies.

4. If using pellets hide them under stones where other animals can't eat them.

5. Plants in containers can be protected by coating the rim in vaseline. They won't crawl through it. Make sure none are lurking in the plant or compost.

6. Use beer to trap them. A lovely way to drown!

7. They are attracted to the skins of citrus fruit. Remove them each morning to the bin.

8. If pellets are used remove the bodies each morning. They may not be dead.

April, Week Four

1. Time Saving Tip: Cut the broken handle of a spade down to 12 inches (30 cm ) and sharpen the end. Now you have a good dibber.

2. Money Saving Tip: Foliar feed leafy house plants which are looking tired. Don't use it on Begonia rex or Saint Paulias.

3. Before spraying horsetail weed with glyphosate crush the stems with a stick or your feet.

4. If your soil is heavy,wet or clay, plant summer bulbs such as gladioli on a layer of grit or sharp sand for drainage.

5. Fill gaps between shrubs with annuals for summer show.

6. Flood glasshouse soil two weeks before planting tomatoes. It will help to wash out unwanted salts, the residue of last year's feeding. The soil will have drained by the time you plant.

7. Earth up the early potatoes with soil to protect the emerging shoots from frost damage.