Never cast a
clout ‘til May is out! This year has demonstrated how fickle the UK weather is
and how careful you have to be at this time of year.
If you think
there is going to be a frost, you can protect flowering fruit trees and tender
new growth by placing sheets of horticultural fleece over them. Take this off
the next day when the temperature starts to rise.
By now you
should have some nice seedlings in the greenhouse and maybe some new plants
from the nursery, but you should be careful to protect these from any
temperature falls and frosts. Check how hardy your new plants are and ensure
that you harden off your young plants by keeping them in a cold frame until the
end of the month, or leaving them outside for a few hours each day before you
plant them out.
Vigilance is the
Sowing and Planting
seedbeds so that when you are ready to sow, they are too!
Summer flowering tubers and bulbs
can also be planted into their containers or borders. Begonia tubers, kept in
boxes of compost, should now be starting to sprout shoots and these can be
planted out later this month also.
If you are growing vegetables, your
first early, second early and maincrop potatoes should be chitting and ready for
planting out this month. As the shoots grow, earth them up.
Other vegetable crops can be started
off by direct sowing this month.
Sow annual climbers in pots (sweet
peas and nasturtiums etc.)
Pruning and plant
You can still divide perennials this
If you have not already pruned old
flowerheads from your hydrangeas – do it now and the garden will look better
Once your spring-flowering shrubs
have flowered, prune them to promote new growth and flowers next year.
Watch climbers for new growth that
needs tying in to assist in shaping them and preventing breakages.
Some early rhubarb may be ready to
pull, and if you have forced rhubarb under a bin, you will definitely have
tender stems to eat.
If you have been bringing on
broadbeans in the greenhouse, you can place them outdoors now, and you can also
sow them direct this month.
Any early – sown vegetable seedlings
that are at manageable size should be pricked-out and potted up, like the leeks
in the photograph above. That applies to all seedlings that have grown their
true leaves (the second leaves) and are large enough to handle.
Maintenance and Planning
It’s a good idea
to get the hoe onto your planting beds and start taking the tops off any small
weedlings that are starting to appear.
If you have not
cleaned up your pots – do this now, scraping the top surfaces and dressing them
with fresh compost.
Feed your lawn
at the end of the end of the month, and you can start to mow it on dry days.
If you like pots
and containers, there is a fantastic array of tender bedding plug plants
available in the garden centres. Buy them early, plant up your pots and
containers, but keep them in the greenhouse or garage (by a window) until May,
when you will get the most out of them.