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I don’t want to wish time away, but I can’t help be a little excited for the warmer weather and blue skies! To open my bedroom curtains to blue sky is something I am ready for. Daylight is beginning to lengthen now the clocks have gone forward, but we still need to stay tuned into the weather forecast for news of showers and possible frosts.
I was recently reading a post on my local allotment page where someone was asking about rotovating now. Mentioning frosts made me think I should write a little about this.
Although Spring is a perfectly acceptable time to do this, I personally prefer, if needed, to do this is Autumn. Even if the soil has been dug over, frosts naturally break down the clumps and then the soil surface will start to dry out ready for a light rake over ready for any direct sowing over weeks to come.
Grass is starting to grow, it might be only now that issues are showing. If scarification hasn’t been done in autumn, then it is a good time to lightly go over the grass with a rake and take off some of the thatch, it will recover well at this time.
Drainage can be improved by going over the grass with a garden fork and pushing in the tines, give it a wiggle to open up the holes. This will help if there is poor drainage or if the soil is compacted. I know ours is with it being used as a football pitch!
Top dress if needed. A premixed dressing can be bought, or you can make your own. Top dressing can also help to level out an uneven lawn by filling in hollows. There are so many benefits to adding this into your lawn care routine, it will certainly reward you!
Before you start, be sure to check what soil type you have. It may be gritty and free draining, if it is loam based the soil will be smooth and stick together when wet, but when dry it will fall apart. Clay soil will be smooth and sticky when wet.
Mix for a sandy soil – 4 parts loam, 3 parts peat and 1 part sand.
Mix for clay soil – 2 parts loam, 1 part peat and 4 parts sand.
Mix for loamy soil – 3 parts loam, 1 part peat and 3 parts sand.
The ratio is 2 litres per square metre of lawn, Spread evenly with a rake and leave it to settle for a few days. At this time of year it is unlikely we wont see any rain, but if it happens to be dry for a few days then give it a sprinkle of water.
Now for our indoor houseplants! Not only do they brighten up our homes they also have a positive impact on our wellbeing. They can remove toxins from the air, enhance mood and lower stress levels. Adding greenery inside our homes creates a calming vibe.
Choose carefully what plant suits the space you have and think about the time you can give to looking after them. Many indoor plants do not require very much.
Ferns can be a good choice for a bathroom, they will love the environment as long as you make sure they have some light. I love my ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), they have dark green stems and glossy leaves. A bright spot out of direct sunlight is perfect. This plant can remove harmful toxins in the air.
How about a plant for the bedroom, orchids are a good choice. They symbolise positivity and can help relaxation and sleep, they have very little requirements are extremely easy to look after.
House plants are so popular now, you will be sure to find a local shop to buy from as well as some beautiful pots to brighten your home too!
Plants in greenhouses and frames will require more ventilation now. Seed potatoes, onion sets and summer cabbage are a few to get started with.
We love leeks so always sow these in pots and leave them in the greenhouse until they are ready to be planted out. We like the big leek ‘Chef’s White’. It provides us with a fabulous crop of big leeks
Courgettes can be sown undercover now too. Only sow as many as you can manage though as they are heavy yielding and take up a lot of space. We have room on our allotment, but there’s only so many you can eat!
Tomatoes can be sown now too indoors. We are spoilt for choice depending on space and time. There are patio types, tumbling types that can grow in a hanging basket, bush or cordon types.
There are early varieties and some that are particularly bred with good disease resistance. This is good news if you live in an area troubled with blight.
There is a tomato for all tastes and requirements, sweet cherry’s to giant beefsteaks! I say this every time but it’s the cherry type that we love, our children pick them as soon as they are ripe and eat them like sweets! Our favourite is ‘Cherry Baby’ which is an indeterminate variety.
A patio choice for us the bush type ‘Baby Boomer’ and ‘Veranda Red’ which as good disease resistance. When we grow tomatoes in the greenhouse I love ‘Nagina’, an extremely flavoursome cordon plum that is blight resistant.
We have to have a beefsteak too, a favourite is quite a new variety called ‘Burlesque’. Prolific, flavoursome juicy and disease resistant.
What more could you ask for!
Plant peas outdoors now and beetroot if the ground is ready. Successional sowings of salad can be made too.
It really is a busy time of year! Enjoy what April has to bring.
Next month I will be covering gardening jobs for May, it is a busy time so we can make sure everything is covered.