Hello April. It's supposedly the month of April showers. Potentially we could still be battling frost too. But, let's hope there's no snow. It's never too late for heavy snow in April - I still remember being sent home from school because of a heavy bout of the white stuff.
So, what gardening jobs are there in April?
Give your garden instant colour
Plant up some bright and cheerful primulas or polyanthus for a pop of colour.
Protect against slugs
The warmer and wetter weather are perfect conditions for slugs and snails. Use barrier products to ensure susceptible plants like hostas are protected.
Don't let this April rainwater go to waste. Invest in a water butt and use rainwater throughout the summer to hydrate your flowers and plants.
Make sure the glass in your greenhouse is clean to maximise light coming in. This will really help plants and seedlings to flourish. To improve air circulation, open greenhouse vents on particularly warm days.
We shared the best way to deadhead daffodils and spring bulbs in last month's blog post. Don't cut them down but snip off the heads. For a recap, just click here.
To ensure beautiful blooms later in the year, now is a good time to prune hydrangeas. Cut back old stems to uncover the healthy new shoots.
Check for aphids
Aphids are small sap-sucking insects, also known generally as greenfly or blackfly. Roses, in particular, attract groups of aphids, many of which have lain dormant over winter. So, April is a good time to check that your plants aren't affected.
You need to look out for small green and/or pink insects clustered on the foliage, flower buds and shoot tips. The plants can also become sticky.
You can use pesticides, but if you want a more natural option to rid your roses of aphids, the best way is to either hose down the plants or squash aphid colonies between your finger and thumb. It's also important to encourage aphid predators to the garden, such as ladybirds, ground beetles, earwigs etc.
Prick out seedlings
As soon as a seedling starts to produce it's first leaves, it is time to prick them out into a larger pot.
Fruit & Vegetables
Get planting potatoes
Now is the time to plant second early or maincrop potatoes. Dig a trench around 20cm deep. Through the generations, we've always been told to sprinkle a little soot into the bottom of the trench before planting potatoes - it's supposed to deter slugs and snails.
Next, top the trench with a thin layer of manure (or super-strength super-dung) and gently mix into the soil.
Then space out the seed potatoes (eyes facing upwards) around 30 cm apart and finally, cover with soil.
Hardy herbs and new plants
It's a good time to divide hardy herbs like chives and replant in smaller groups. It's also the perfect opportunity to sow soft-leafed herbs like flat leaf parsley or dill.
Sow salad for summer
For an early crop, sow seeds for salad leaves and rocket. Plant some now and another crop in around 3 weeks time. This batch crop method will extend your crop throughout the summer - and ensure that not everything is ready at the same time.
Batch plant vegetables
Again, to extend the cropping period, now is the ideal time to batch plant your first crop of garlic, shallots and onions. Sow another in around a month, and another a few weeks later to maximise the potential crop.
Make the most of vegetables
Sow beans, cucumbers and pumpkins. Bear in mind that pumpkins are very large plants, so ensure there is enough space in your garden, raised bed or allotment to allow it to grow and spread.
To keep houseplants healthy, start to feed them weekly and continue doing so throughout the summer.