The Gardening Year- April 2019
The weather so far this year has been a mixed bag- Summer came at Easter for three days and threw us all into a gardening Frenzy and many discovered that it is best not to plant out tender plants until the middle of May at the earliest, as the cold snap has set them back if not killed them altogether.
Sweet peas can be planted outdoors now, gradually harden them off by putting them in a cool room for a couple of days and then they should be fine.
It is still way too early to plant summer bedding plants e.g. marigolds petunias etc., they will be available in the shops at Easter but resist the temptation, they will need serious heat and light in order to survive. In Longford the best time to plant these is towards the end of May when hopefully all frost is gone.(Fingers Crossed)
Perennial plants such as lupins, phlox etc. will be starting to show now after the winter so keep a careful lookout for slugs who will devour these juicy greens, try to avoid slug pellets or use ones that are safe for birds and pets, Hedgehogs will also eat pellets and die as a result, copper strips around your plants, beer traps and sharp sand are all good ways to deter slugs and snails.
Remove dead flower heads on daffodils but don’t cut the foliage away or bend it down as these old leaves feed the bulb in the ground ensuring a display the following year, older daffodils that did not flower need to be lifted and divided up, overcrowding stops them from flowering.
Many Vegetables can be sown outdoors this month, e.g. cabbage, peas, beetroot broccoli, carrots, don't sow all your seed at once or you will have a glut of veg, a little and often works best. Plant onion sets when the soil warms up, cover the soil with fleece to protect new sprouts from frost.
Tomatoes, pumpkins, courgettes can be sown indoors on a warm windowsill or in a propagator
Add well rotted farm yard manure to your outdoor beds and keep a bottle of tomato food handy it’s a great liquid feed and gives plants an instant burst of growth.
April is the best month to sow a new lawn, rake the area to remove any stones and weeds before sowing seed, generally a fistful of grass seed covers one sq yd, don’t worry about the birds pecking it, there will be loads left.
On established lawns apply sulphate of iron to kill moss, wear gloves and be careful with all products be it weed killers or insecticides, self preservation should be the number one thought going through your mind. There are many new moss killing products on the market, they are expensive and in my opinion, it doesn’t matter what you apply, our winters are so wet it’s inevitable that moss will thrive, Clean the underside of your lawnmower after mowing, as its one of the best ways to spread weed seeds.
When the weather begins to get warmer fish will be hungry, don’t forget to feed them.
Pond plants can be divided now, always leave unwanted water plants sitting on the edge of the pond for a couple of hours before discarding them, to allow water beetles etc. re enter the water.
Trees and Shrubs
Continue to plant now, all plants are sold in containers so you can plant them all the year round, pink and white flowering cherry trees are in bloom this month and are stunning even in the smallest garden, April is the month of rebirth so get out and smell the grass, it’s been a long hard winter.