Eco Garden April
A little sunshine and some cherry blossom and hey presto! Spring is here.
Despite rainy days and cold nights the daffodils, crocuses and tulips are in bloom. It's an exciting month, with indoor-sown seeds well into growth and the chance to start sowing outdoors too. Just watch out for frosts that may destroy all your hard work in nurturing your early plants to bud and bloom.
Things to do…
Flowers, Fruit and Veg
A wide selection of bulbs are available at garden centres. I suggest planting summer-flowering bulbs now to give a variety of beautiful hues in your garden for June and July and later flowering bulbs to provide your garden with a splash of colour in September.
Always prepare the soil first and ensure that drainage is sufficient to prevent the bulbs from rotting. Bulbs bring lots of glorious blooms for minimal effort because they are easy, once planted properly; they only need regular watering to ensure success.
Frost occurs when temperatures fall below 0ºC (32ºF) – and you’ll see small white crystals on the ground and other surfaces. When frost is forecast, consider protecting your soft fruit bushes and trees with fleece overnight and then remove during the day when the temperature rises. Ideally, protect soft fruit such as strawberries with cloches or a double covering of fleece, again remove or opening the protective layer in the day to allow pollinators to do their stuff.
Trees and Shrubs
Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a balanced fertilizer now. This will particularly benefit young, weak, damaged or heavily pruned plants.
Mow when dry - whenever the grass is growing - try to maintain a constant height and over-seed unsightly dead patches from mid-April to early May. Now is the time to remove old plant debris and moss with a spring-tine rake.
Conservatory - Increase the watering of indoor and conservatory plants as days lengthen. Check if plants need watering every few days.
Don’t forget to give greenhouse plants more space as they put on new growth. This will help to prevent disease and to contain early pest infestations
Birds and Wildlife
How about an unusual garden accessory to encourage mason bees? A Pollinating bee log made from certified silver birch is a natural home for mason bees and other solitary bees as well as for a variety of over-wintering insects. Mason bees are vital for pollinating fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. They are not aggressive and are safe around children and pets. Your bee log is ideal to hang on a wall or from a tree with the special strengthened seagrass rope. Position in a warm place near nectar sources to catch the morning sun.
Attracting wildlife and providing a home in your garden is a great natural pest control. You can provide natural habitats that are being lost in the wild. Why not try ‘Butterfly Attractant’ it is based on natural plant extract formulation and encourages the most beautiful and delicate garden insects to settle in your garden.
Keeping chickens for eggs: If you are thinking about keeping chickens - to produce eggs, three hens are probably enough to supply you with eggs all year, although most hens will stop laying during the winter unless you provide them with artificial light. For more information about keeping chickens visit henkeeping.co.uk
Top tip from Hen Keeping for using up egg shells!
Bake your eggshells in the oven for about 15 mins. Then crush them when cooled and add to the chicken feed. This provides your chickens with a good source of calcium!
Reclaim and Recycle
These Vintage Galvanised Planters from 'Not on the High Street' look appealing both indoors and outside, particularly with a weathered and worn patina. Check out your local charity shops, car boot fairs and even the back of your garage for interesting vessels to recycle for planters too.