April means we need our skates on, everything needs to be sown but we must also keep a vigilant eye kept on pests. All the shelves in my green house are brimming with seed trays and pots. Here are my tips to get the best results both inside and out.
• A little bottom heat is fantastic if possible if not possible I cover most plants at night, seed tray covers, white polystyrene from packing, bubble wrap or fleece – they all work (actually I like reusing those white polystyrene rectangular trays bedding comes in). This extra warmth given helps against the sudden drops in temperature at night which spring is known for.
• Make sure you uncover everything in the morning as light is required for germination.
• I still continue to open and air greenhouse in the day as aphids can colonize so rapidly. A quick blast with the hose early in the day can help disperse most and also allows time for the foliage to dry before nightfall.
• I sow most seeds in trays and plant out later when the weather is less inclement. And this allows for bigger plants to defend themselves against those slugs and pests.
• Pot on earlier sown plants and put established seedlings in cold frames which will give extra cover at night, this allows for space in the greenhouse.
• Do start watering indoor pot plants and feed them to help the spring growth. Regular feeding is recommended. Bob Flowerdue has feeding Friday, brilliant to have a regular day of the week.
• You can also direct sow but remember to protect against all arch enemies – weather, pests etc.
• I split up and transplant little perennial seedlings as there is still so much moisture in the soil and air that most plants survive this early transfer.
• Prepare ground for serious crops like pumpkin, squashes, courgettes, beans, marrows who like a lot of feeding by digging trenches with extra manure and make planting pockets in a raised middle.
•Supports for peas, beans and perennials need to go in now. Collect pea sticks from hazel and hornbean now before foliage takes off.
• Tidiness is imperative in keeping those pesky pests at bay. Clear debris around plants etc and leave it in a pile somewhere in the garden If you have no compost heap After all, those little creatures need a home! And of course they are good for the birds too!
• This early in the season water outside only when necessary as the ground is still moist.
• If you have not but do need to prune plum,cherry or other stone fruit. Do it now only if necessary as they vulnerable to silverleaf and bacterial canker. Ideally wait towards the end of the month is a small window.
• Enjoy the beautiful spring flowers and bring some indoors.
• Keep weeding, try and do some each day or as regularly as possible. Makes that bit less tedious.
• Mulch as plants appear, surrounding with compost or any mulch this helps with moisture control, suppressing weeds.