Gardening with Children

Family Zone

Things to do in the garden in April

Date Posted: 01 April 2015

April is perhaps one of the busiest months in the garden and often includes the Easter Weekend, which is traditionally the start of the Gardening Year, tools are dusted off, gardens are pruned, tidied and weeded, vegetable beds are dug, fed and sown with the first seeds of the year, lawns will get their first cut and pots and containers are planted up with colourful and cheery spring flowers.

slug

Plants and young vegetables are growing fast producing lots of fresh and tender foliage which is a welcome sight not only to ourselves but to unwanted garden pests especially slugs, now is the time to get prepared and start your 'campaign against slugs', there are many safe poducts that you can use including:

Slug and Snail Traps - an old favourite that really works, bury the traps to soil level and fill with sugared water or beer they will attract the slugs and snails who fall in.

Copper Slug and Snail Tape - Stick the adhesive backed tape around the top of your containers and raised beds, the tape will not kill the slugs but acts as a deterrant by giving them a tiny electrical charge which deters them from passing over the tape.
 
Slug Gone - Made from sheeps wool the fibres irritate the underneath of the Slugs detering them from travelling across, spread a layer of Slug Gone around your plants, the pellets hold twice their own weight in water and act as an excellent mulch, weed suppressant, soil conditioner and slow release fertiliser too.
 
Nemaslug Slug Killer - A powder that contains millions of microscopic nematodes that occur naturally in the soil, simply mix with water and apply to the soil around your plants each application lasts for 6 weeks, the nematodes attack and eventually kill the slugs.
 
All of the above products offer an evironmentally friendly solution for slugs and will not harm children, pets, birds and garden wildlife including thrushes, hedgehogs, frogs, toads and ground beetles which feed on slugs and their eggs.
 
 
If your soil is too wet to begin sowing and planting, start your seeds and plants off indoors ready to plant out when conditions improve, cover the soil with plastic sheeting or cloches to help your soil to dry out and warm up. If you need to work on the soil walk on Duck Boards, they spread your weight over a large area reducing soil compaction and digging, they keep your feet clean too!
 
 110 x 83cm duck board
 
 
GeneralProfessional Twin Classic Wooden Compost Bin
  • Set up some new Compost Bins to turn your garden waste into beneficial and free garden compost now is the ideal time to start the process off, use last years mature compost on your garden click here for more information.
  • Prolonged wet weather washes out many nutrients in the soil, when preparing your vegetable/flower beds fork in plenty of garden compost and some organic fertiliser.
  • Cover you beds with polythene, fleece or cloches to warm up the soil before sowing/planting.
  • Top up Raised Beds with top soil, replace any damaged posts or boards and apply a coat of preservative which will extend their life.
  • Clean your greenhouse or Polytunnel to remove algae, let in more light and Sneeboer childrens garden tool selection kill off overwintering pests and diseases.
  • Have a good clear out in your potting shed, greenhouse or polytunnel wash potting trays, seed trays and pots and throw away broken ones, check over, clean and maintain gardening tools and equipment.
  • Water butts and watering cans that have stood unused over winter will need draining and a good clean before refilling.
  • If you haven’t got a water butt buy one now, add a rain diverter and catch rain from your downpipe.
  • Weeds will be growing and germinating fast keep on top of them.
Fruit
  • Buy/order new strawberry plants to replace exhausted/old plants, plant in an attractive raised Strawberry Bed or Strawberry Growing Bag which can deter pests and be positioned in full sun on your patio.Young Strawberry plant
  • Pot up strawberry plants and grow on in a greenhouse/polytunnel for an earlier crop, allow insects to pollinate flowers by leaving the door open.
  • Apply a mulch of homemade garden compost from your compost bin or well rotted farmyard manure around fruit trees and bushes, leave a space around the trunks/stems or crowns.
  • Plant container grown fruit trees.
  • Protect early blossom from frost with fleece.
Vegetables
  • Plant out second early potatoes in the first half of the month and maincrop in the second half, if space is limited why not plant some in potato growing bags.
  • Harden off crops ready for planting out, once planted out protect with cloches, fleece or polythene.
  • Plant Asparagus Crowns and Jerusalem Artichoke Tubers.
  • Plant remaining onion sets, shallots and garlic outdoors, if the soil is wet or frozen they canOnions from sets be started off individually in pots in a cold greenhouse for planting out later click here for more information.
  • Direct sow Broad Beans, Lettuce, Radish, Spinach, Parsnips, Peas, Spring Onions, Radish, Chard, Leeks, Carrots, Turnips, Beetroot, Summer/Autumn Brassicas and cover with fleece or cloches for protection.
  • Don’t be too hasty to sow seeds outside, they won’t grow if it is too cold or wet, you can sow many seeds in pots and seed trays indoors to get a head start - be guided by your weather conditions just as much as the seed packet.
  • Thin out early sown seedlings when they are large enough to handle.
In the Greenhouse/Polytunnel/on your Windowsill, in the Propagator
  • Sow Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Marrows, Squashes, Aubergines, Celery, Salad Leaves, French and Runner Beans, Sweet Corn, Watercress and Lettuce.
  • Pot up seedlings into small pots when they are large enough to handle to grow on.
  • Start sowing Herb seeds (perennial and annual).
  • Buy fresh vegetable/potting compost/grow bags and place in the greenhouse/polytunnel to warm up ready for use.
Harvest

Forced Rhubarb

  • Spring Cabbages, and Cauliflowers and the last of the winter vegetables including Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Kale, Parsnips, Swedes, Turnips and Leeks.
  • Forced Rhubarb stems - delicious stewed, in pies or crumbles eat them shortly after picking.
 
The Urban Bird Feeder
 
Wildlife
  • Keep bird feeders and bird baths topped up and wash out regularly to prevent disease.
  • Put up some nest boxes in your garden or why notThe Urban Nest Box build your own.
  • Your pond should be slowly coming to life, if you have a pump and filter system give them a good spring clean to benefit your fish and all the wildlife, when algae appears add some bokashi mud balls to keep it under control and keep the water clear and healthy.
  • Carefully remove any excess pond weed without disturbing frogspawn or tadpoles and place on the side of the pond to allow any creatures to return to the water, top up ponds when necessary.
  • If you have not got a pond now is a good time to make one in your garden, you will be amazed at the diversity of wildlife that it will attract, many of which will take care of your garden pests creating a natural balance without using harmful chemicals.
  • Hedgehogs will be emerging from hibernation hungry, put out fresh water in a bowl and some hedgehog food to give them a helping hand.

Hedgehog Feeding Bowl

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