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Gardening Tips for April

Brown patches on your lawn after the winter weather? Now’s the time to treat them!

Rake out dead grass with a spring tine type rake and roughen the resulting soil surface. Using a gardening sieve, apply some ‘weed-free’ garden compost to the patch, rake again and then apply some fresh lawn seed. Rake in gently and ensure the seed is kept moist. Germination should take 1-2 weeks.

Should you have used weed killer on your lawn, or plan to do so, remember to put your mowing cuttings in the bin for a few weeks rather than on your compost heap, as it is slow to break down and using compost subsequently in your garden can cause plant damage.

Everyone loves sweet peas, so if you have not sown yours, don’t despair, you can still have success sown direct outside where they are to flower. Alternatively, you can easily obtain plants in your local garden centre.

Don’t forget to sow those sunflowers! You can get them in all shapes and sizes apart from those for the ‘grow the tallest sunflower’ tradition. There are single and double-flowered types in a range of colours, varieties for cut flowers and of course those best for wildlife, be it pollen and nectar for the bees and butterflies or seed for the birds in the autumn!

For your summer vegetables, you don’t even need a garden. You can have great success sowing ‘cut & come again’ salads on a patio or balcony or even in a seed tray on the window sill! Mixed lettuce is a great example! Just sow some seed in your container or seed tray of compost and keep moist. You will be cutting leaves in just 3-4 weeks! Leave around 2cms of stem and your young plants will re-grow two or even three times – they are great value!

Slugs and snails can be a real problem in the garden. Probably the best control is biological using microscopic nematode worms you apply in water from a can. You can obtain these from your local garden centre or by mail order. It’s expensive but very effective!

Remember, for success in producing the best plants in the garden then ‘cleanliness is next to godliness, so keep on top of any weed growth in your plot. They not only compete with your crops for food and water but also harbour pests and diseases.

Suffice to say, it’s good to become a little obsessive and make sure you clean everything as you go!

Happy Gardening!

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