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It felt like we waited forever, but spring is finally here! Just a few days into April and there has been blue sky, warm sunshine and gardening without a coat on! It always seems as soon as the sun shines and the spring jobs pile up, things can feel a little overwhelming. So, as your greenhouse is filling up with seed trays and new plants, here’s some spring gardening tips to help you get some jobs done but most importantly, enjoy it along the way.
Part of the fun of gardening is enjoying the process so getting stressed out at how much it seems there is to do, isn’t part of the plan! I spend just a little time each day, if I can, doing a couple of gardening jobs to keep on top of things and I trust that it will all work out just fine. If I forget to sow some seeds there’s still plenty of time.
It’s still too early for the majority of plants to be planted or sown outside, which means sowing into trays and modules in the greenhouse or on a warm windowsill is perfect and then hardening off from later in the month onwards. A late frost wouldn’t be a surprise because we do get them so there’s no rush! There’s plenty of seeds that can be sown undercover now including salads, beetroot, radish, leeks, kohl rabi, peas, basil, chills tomatoes, chives, parsley, cosmos, zinnia, nasturtium - and much more. I think carefully about what I would like to grow and what space I have but there is always a few I sow anyway and figure out where I will plant them later because the temptation is too strong! Keeping a note of what you have sown and the date can be helpful incase labels go missing throughout the season.
Thinking ahead will help you no end when it’s busier later in the season and into the summer, so putting in your plant supports and other structures now and tying in climbers such as roses is a good idea. Spend some time preparing now and you’ll have more time to put your feet up in the summer and smell the roses.
The evenings many be warmer but it can still get really cold overnight and late frosts are possible. Protect blossom on your fruit trees with horticultural fleece when the weather is particularly cold or if you have smaller trees in containers, pop them into the greenhouse on the days or nights needed. Make sure you remember to take the protection off again so the flowers can be reached by pollinators.
Now is a good time to clear your growing beds of weeds. You might even find some edibles such as Red Dead Nettle or Cleavers, Chickweed or Dandelion. I clear the beds where I cultivate plants but I leave many other ‘weeds’ in specific places for insects that desperately need them for shelter and food at this time of year. If you look closely at a patch of weeds you’ll probably see ladybirds, early bees and other insects that all play their part in the biodiversity of your garden, so I let them be at least until there are plenty of other nectar rich plants available. Certainly means a little less work to do in spring!
Mostly, amongst the spring gardening jobs, enjoy the lighter evenings and don’t forget to catch the morning bird song - there’s nothing better for mind, body and soul.