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Spring is Here - Really it is!

Alan Parsons

17 Apr 2018

You might be forgiven for thinking that this is January or February with cold winds, snow and heavy rain for much of the last few weeks. But it is in fact April when, according to the books, new life should be bursting forth in the garden. So how do we combine such terrible weather with our love of gardening? The trick is to make the most of the dry spells to do the essential work in the garden and prepare ourselves for warmer and drier days. If your garden is anything like my own then the lawn and beds are totally sodden and should not be walked on as it will damage the structure. There is no point in trying to dig over a bed at present, but there are several jobs we can do. If you are fortunate enough to have a greenhouse or sun house then give it a good spring clean getting rid of all the pests that have overwintered in it, and wipe the glass to let more of the weak spring sunlight in. It is not too late to start seeds of tomatoes and many brassicas for planting out when the weather improves, and if you have spring cabbages in the ground then a feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser will give them a lift. This is the time of year that many vegetables that you have grown from seed, including potatoes that have chitted, would normally be put into the ground. However, wait if you can until the water has drained away, and the weather has warmed a bit, or they may just rot. It is always a judgement call as to when to plant out, but in general late planted crops will catch up and often overtake those planted in cold wet conditions. One thing that you can try, especially if you have limited space, is a herb ladder. You can buy these (or if you are handy make one out of decking) and they are ideal for herbs and flowers plus hardening off trays of produce before they are planted out. Put one against a sunny wall and it will make an attractive addition to your garden. If you have an allotment or a vegetable area in your garden then a covering of horticultural fleece, or black plastic if it is not too wet, will help the ground to warm up and will also keep the weeds at bay. Finally, don’t forget our feathered friends. The birds in our garden get through a lot of seeds from our feeders each day, but I consider it an investment as they will then be around to feed on the caterpillars and insect pests we will get when the weather warms up. So, do not despair! Warmer weather will certainly come, we can take this time to prepare for better days. If you are interested in growing more, and live in Stretton, then Stretton allotments have some that have come available. Email strettonallotments@hotmail.com

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