The milder weather will be heading our way in the next few months, which means that spring is just around the corner.
Keen gardeners will have been itching all winter long to begin their sowing, growing and nurturing routines to bring the garden back to life and is there really anything better than seeing the luscious green leaves and bright blossom form over the spring months?
Here are our top tips for getting back into the garden this spring.
Choose Summer Flowering Bulbs & Seeds
Ordering your summer-flowering bulbs and seeds is the perfect way to occupy your time during those cold, wet early spring days.
Bulbs can be planted along borders or in containers and are wonderfully effective when shaped into the grass, but it’s essential to do this now as it will be too late for most species if you leave it any later.
Tidy Up Beds & Borders
Remove leaves and other litter from your borders and flower beds. Early spring is absolutely perfect for cutting back dead grasses and herbaceous perennials, as they can protect different kinds of wildlife during the winter months.
Clear everything back to the bare soil and throw all of the dead leaves and organic matter onto the compost heap (more on this later). Remove any weeds and throw them in your garden waste bin; composting them will cause problems down the line when the seeds begin to germinate.
In addition to this, it’s also a good idea to remove the weeds from the base of your trees and shrubs and give them a feed and a generous layer of mulch.
Clean Up Your Greenhouse
Now is a great time to give your greenhouse a good sort out, ready for the spring cuttings and seedlings. Firstly, scrub the exterior of your greenhouse with soapy water and disinfectant to remove the moss and grime build up. This will not only allow more light in during the growth phase, but it also eliminates potential hiding spots for pests and diseases. It’s also essential to follow the same process on the interior, pests and disease can make themselves virtually invisible over the winter months.
Give the floor a sweep to remove any dust, dirt and plant debris, and scrub thoroughly with a mild garden disinfectant – something like Jeyes Fluid is perfect. Also wash pots and seed trays to help prevent diseases like ‘damping off’ impacting the growth of your seedlings. Keep the doors open for a few days to allow everything to dry off.
Once everything is dried out and looking spic and span, ensure you take a little time to examine the structure of your greenhouse to pinpoint any areas that need to be replaced.
This time of year is the best time to hunt down and destroy hibernating bugs and pests – it will save you a lot of hassle when late spring and summer rolls around. Carefully inspect the crowns of your perennial plants for slug, snail and aphid colonies sheltering through the colder months. It’s really important not to use slug pellets though, as these are very poisonous to birds and other garden-friendly wildlife.
Make sure you clear out all of last year’s bedding, checking for destructive pests that feed on plant roots such as the white-vine-weevil larvae.
Destroy any larvae that you find and be prepared to treat for any vine weevils that you might have missed using vine weevil nematodes, which seek out the larvae and destroy them before they reach the grub stage.
Install a water butt in your garden if you haven’t already to collect the water from the spring downfalls. Harvesting rainwater is crucial for environmentally friendly gardening, and high demand for water during the summer months often results in hosepipe bans; by collecting your own water, your garden can be watered consistently all summer.
Now is the perfect time of year to get those small maintenance jobs done and dusted.
Check your fences, gates and trellis’ for any sign of wear and tear or decay. Then, hose down your fence panels and gates to remove grime and mildew – a stiff brush may also be required for more stubborn dirt. Then let the wood dry off before applying two coats of paint, stain or a wood preserver of your choice.
Fixing these things now means you don’t need to worry later, and it gives you more time to spend in the garden during spring and summer.
Dust Off Your Tools
Give your garden tools a sharpen and a good scrub. Maintaining your garden tools will help to keep them in good condition, which will save you money and help to prevent the spread of disease. Dirty secateurs, for example, are renowned for introducing fungi and bacteria to open areas which have been freshly pruned.
Using a strong detergent, some water and a scourer, give the bladed tools a rigorous clean. Sharpening your tools will also ensure they are much easier to work with. Once cleaned up apply some WD40 to the blades and hinges.
Hand tools like spades, trowels and hoes will also benefit from oiling, which can be done with standard vegetable-based oil.
Create a Composting Space
Now is a great time to set up a composting space in the garden. This could be as simple as purchasing a ready-made compost bin, or you could even piece one together from spare wood.
A compost heap provides somewhere to put all of your discarded organic matter. Once it begins to decompose, you’ll have a rich compost for your plants to thrive on.
Ensure you have a good mixture of grass offcuts, vegetable peelings, paper and prunings, and give it a turn with a garden fork every month to ensure you break down any dense clumps within the soil.
If you have any questions about spring gardening or any of our products, why not contact us on 01584 380 001 to take advantage of our free advice line.