Spring is one of the most enjoyable times in the garden. In cold regions the weather can still be icy in early spring, but in mild climates you can make a start on many outdoor jobs. If sowing or planting outdoors, bear in mind that soil temperature as well as air temperature is important.
Beds and borders. One of the biggest bugbears of gardening is the amount of time spent watering over summer. The best way to avoid this is to wait until after a few days of heavy spring rain, when the soil is deeply saturated, and then spread a thick layer of mulch such as mushroom compost over the soil. This locks in the moisture now, and after subsequent waterings. It also keeps down weeds and helps condition the soil.
Cutting lawns. The best way to keep a healthy green lawn is to give it a first light cut in the spring. Thereafter give it a medium cut, or the longest possible cut for your needs, such as children’s games. The longer the grass the longer the roots, and this means it will stay lusher and greener for longer during dry spells. Lawns that are cut very short have short roots that cannot go deep down for moisture during long dry spells, and they are the first to go brown.
Kitchen gardens. Warm soil, by day and night, is particularly important when sowing tender herbs like basil. Instead of sowing all your seed now and seeing only a few plants emerge, it is better to wait until the end of spring or early summer when germination rates will be higher.
If you have cloches then use them like blankets to warm up the soil before sowing vegetables like lettuce. Otherwise, you can start sowing lettuces in small pots or buckets indoors. This gets the plants off to a racing start.
Gradually harden them off, standing them outside in a sheltered place or in a cold frame, until they can be planted out. The added benefit is that being larger they are less likely to be shredded by the early morning birds. Tasty new crops should be covered by nets to keep pigeons away, and beer traps will reduce the slug numbers. Place the traps away from the new crops and not amongst them, or the slugs will reach the crops before drowning.
To create the flower garden, you should:
– finish planting bare-root trees and shrubs
– plant container-grown shrubs
– plant herbaceous plants
– sow hardy annuals, like sweet peas
– feed and mulch beds and borders
– plant gladioli and other summer bulbs
– start mowing the lawn, but cut high initially, reduce the height of the blades thereafter
– buy seeds and bulbs if not already done so
– prune shrubs, if necessary
– prune roses always making sure that you cut directly above a shoot
– tidy up the rock garden, and apply fresh stone chippings where necessary
– clean out the pond, and make sure that there are no rotting leaves at the bottom
– add scatterings of pelleted poultry manure on flower beds.