Alan's Gardening Tips

A very typical start to April with Showers, cold nights and day time temperatures of 11 degrees so before I start cutting the grass now is the time to set to with recovery work on those parts of the lawn that need repair. This is the right time for sowing grass seed especially if there have been a few showers and we have experienced plenty of those this past week. Make sure that the area to be sown has been raked, levelled and firmed. Sow the seed by broadcasting it over the surface following the instructions on the seed box then prepare to fend off the enemy. Sparrows and other seed eaters are probably as common in your garden as mine especially with my wife feeding them so well, so its chicken wire over these sensitive areas and maintaining watering with my can fitted with a sprinkler.
Rising temperatures should mean that within 3/4 weeks new young shoots are showing their presence and so its off to Wilkos or elsewhere for some grass seed straight away.
On the rockery I note that the birds have been pulling away at the Aubrietia to use in building their nests in my neighbours conifers. I need to pop along to the garden centre and buy some new plants for the rockery, thinking that this time I will try some new colours like Axcent Deep Red knowing that this one will flower till late into the autumn plus its a vigorous grower with glorious flowers.
On the allotment the first row of early spuds have gone in.This time of year I planted Rocket earlies hoping to get a crop by early July and as the ground is still very cold I have nestled the spuds into a nice bed of well rotten manure that some kind person donated to me covering over with 3” of top soil and then I have covered the row with a sheet of polythene to try and warm the ground up 2 –3 degrees or so. I could have used some fleece that I bought from Home Discount which might have been more effective. As soon as the leaves break through I will rip this away and start covering up the stems by drawing soil up the stems usually burying the stems altogether – for now. Don’t forget tubers only form on buried stems so if more stems are buried you will get more potatoes.
Saturday saw me shopping for my outdoor Gourds, Squash and beans and in the coming week I shall be potting away like mad and filling the greenhouse (cold unfortunately) with 3” pots with a seed in each and buried in multi purpose compost not forgetting to make sure that the seeds are planted edge on 3/4” deep. I must remember this year to label well so that I know what I have buried where. I am a beggar for forgetting to do this. With the beans I grow Scarlet Emperor Runner Beans and Blue Lake French Climbers. The cucumbers are the small type and are picked and eaten when about 4” long – these are now popping up in their pots inside the conservatory and will soon be getting some daytime outside to acclimatise. Courgettes are similarly progressing.
I trust that all of you who have booked a place on the trip to Sheffield Botanical Gardens have diarised the 21st and are not going to give us any last minute surprises by not turning up, also our trip to Lee gardens is looking busy and it may well be that some members may well be travelling in their cars to join us. That is on the Tuesday May 19th followed by our visit to Stuart Dixons ‘Hebbs Farm’ on June 16th. Don’t forget to come and confirm all your trip details with us at the rear of the hall at Wednesday’s monthly U3A meeting.
See you on Wednesday
Alan (Chief Weeder)

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