The evenings are beginning to draw out, the birds are collecting materials for their nests, ducks are starting to pair up and the hares are already hopping around in the fields. This can only mean one thing…Spring is on its way!
You may already be feeling the twitching in your fingers to get out into the garden and, when you look outside, you’re probably wondering where to start. We’ve complied some tips to help your garden gently wake up to spring.
Flower Beds and Borders
Before you can begin to think about sowing seeds or planting flowers in your beds / borders, you will need to get on top of the weeds, clear any leaves, and cut back any old dead growth. Spring is the perfect time to do this before everything starts to grow again rapidly. Any weeds or debris will take away light and water from your plants so it’s important to get rid of these. (One important thing to remember if you love to create your own compost – don’t put any weeds in your compost bin, they will germinate and create more issues later!).
Once you’ve removed your weeds you can also mulch your borders, provided there is room between your plants and that the soil is moist. This will help prevent any weeds creeping through that have roots left behind.
Some plants will need a little ‘TLC’ to get them ready for spring. You may need to repot them, move them to a protected area or trim the stems to encourage new growth. Roses and buddleia will need to be pruned in spring once the frosts have passed.
Spring is a great time to rake, feed and scarify your lawn. This will ensure any dead leaves and other debris are removed, allowing it to breathe and prevent waterlogging. This time of year is also good to level off any uneven areas and add some grass seed.
Your greenhouse is perhaps looking tired after the long winter months and has probably started to grow its own greenery. Washing the exterior of your greenhouse with disinfectant or detergent will remove any algae, moss or general grime, allowing more light in during the growing months, and making it much nicer to look as well!
Ensure you clean the inside of the glass too as this will remove any pests and bacteria which could be harmful to your plants.
Sweep any old plant debris from the floor and benches so that you can then wash them with a solution of garden disinfectant, such as Jeyes Fluid. Once your cleaning is compete it’s a good idea to air out your greenhouse for a couple of days, so it dries thoroughly.
Garden pests will be hibernating and now will be the perfect time to search them out – it’ll save you a lot of problems when the warmer weather comes. Look closely at the crowns of your perennial plants and check for any slugs, snails or aphids that may be sheltering.
Some species can be brushed off, whereas others may need a specialist pest treatment.
Installing a water butt in your garden is not only a great way to collect rainwater but will also help for an environmentally friendly garden. Peak demand for water in hotter months can sometimes force water companies to impose ‘hosepipe bans’ and resort to increasing supply through groundwater reserves and streams. This can be harmful to the environment and costly for consumers.
Rainfall is also the best type of water for plants as tap water is often slightly alkaline.
When installing a water butt, position it underneath a downpipe from either your home or shed. If you have a closed drainpipe, you’ll need to purchase a diverter kit to siphon off some of the rainwater.
Maintaining your garden tools by ensuring they are clean and sharpened will help to preserve them. It’ll save you money in the long run and help prevent the spread of diseases. Dirty secateurs will introduce fungi and bacteria to freshly pruned stems.
To clean your bladed tools, use a strong detergent, hot water, and a scourer. Sharpening your tools will improve their performance, making working with them easier. Once sharpened, apply some WD40 or oil to the blades and hinges.
Creating a Compost Area
If you don’t have one, it’s a great idea to create a composting area. You can purchase a ready-made compost bin or make your own from spare wood.
The best and most efficient way to clear away organic matter is to place this inside a composter.
Spring is a good time to turn over the compost pile and you’ll find some excellent mulch coming up from the bottom layer. If you find yourself with too much compost, you can always offer some to your neighbour(s).
Vegetables to Plant in March
March is an ideal time if you’re thinking of having a go at growing your own vegetables as some can handle the cool, early spring weather in the ground. For vegetables that prefer it warmer you can sow these seeds indoors until they’re ready for planting outside.
Here is a list of some vegetables which you could sow now:
- Broad beans
The following are vegetables which are ideal to sow indoors or in a greenhouse now:
- Brussels sprouts
Any seeds you started to grow inside and under cover can be planted outside in four to six weeks or generally by early May.
Cucumbers, gherkins and tomatoes are best off sown and grown in a greenhouse.
Garden Furniture / Patios / Decking
Whether your garden furniture is plastic, wicker, or wooden, it’s still going to need some ‘TLC’ to be ready for the spring and summer months. Plastic is easy to revive, all you need is some warm soapy water and a sponge. Anything made from wood will need a little more care. Once cleaned and thoroughly dry, use an appropriate wood oil to seal and protect it from the elements.
Your patio or decking could also use a sweep and a wash with warm soapy water, removing all the debris from the winter months.
When you’re gardening this time of year you may find some wildlife taking shelter. Please take care not to disturb any nesting birds when pruning hedges or shrubs, and be sure look out for any hedgehogs that are hibernating under any winter growth before clearing these away or having a bonfire.