As the coronavirus spreads, the nation is preparing to undergo a lengthy period in isolation. But many of us have access to green space, plants and gardens, so why not spend that time you would usually be in the pub, on growing, nature and your garden – however big and small. Here’s another thought: if you’re spending less through going out, perhaps a donation to all those excellent gardening charities and local nurseries might be an idea?
For those of you with an eye on a huge project, why not learn how to build a garden studio, or even plant an edible garden. You could come out of this with an entirely new garden.
Here’s what you should be thinking about over the next few months in the garden.
Monthly gardening tasks
•Prepare soil for outdoor sowings and begin weeding.
• Begin sowing seed of flowers and vegetable crops.
• Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
• After flowering, lift and divide congested snowdrops.
• Divide overgrown perennials.
• Tidy up roses, removing dead, damaged or diseased stems.
• A good time for transplanting evergreen shrubs and conifers.
• Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs, and root cuttings from dormant plants for propagation.
• Protect peaches, nectarines and apricots from peach leaf curl by covering with an open-sided frame covered in clear polythene.
• Continue sowing seeds. Prick out and pot up seedlings.
• Keep on top of weeding and mulch soil to conserve moisture.
• Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
• Divide late-flowering perennials.
• Put in plant supports so that plants can grow around stakes.
• Many shrubs benefit from hard pruning in April to keep them tidy and encourage new growth.
• Scarify lawns and begin mowing. It’s a good time to level out lumps in the lawn.
• Watch out for pests, particularly snails and slugs.
• Feed soil (especially around trees, shrubs, new hedges and fruit bushes) with a general fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure.
• Remove the spent flower heads of daffodils and tulips.
• Start ventilating greenhouses and begin monitoring for pests.
• Put out nesting material for birds, such as pet hair or sheep’s wool.
• Start putting in plant supports.
•Check labels and replace where necessary.
• Continue sowing seeds and potting up seedlings.
• Watch out for late frosts and be prepared to protect young growth with fleece.
• Water plants as required, paying particular attention to young plants or those newly planted.
• Keep on top of weeding.
• Continue feeding soil.
• Mulch to conserve moisture.
• Look out for pests, and use biological control on vine weevil.
• Divide perennials.
• Clear spring bedding and compost discarded plants.
• Lift and divide overcrowded spring-flowering bulbs.
• Stake plants in need of support.
• Prune spring-flowering clematis after flowering to maintain shape.
• Plant dahlia tubers outside.
• Provide shade for greenhouses and cold frames on sunny days.
• Feed birds with protein-rich live food, which is good for fledglings.
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