Garden jobs for April

Date:

Now is the time to start planning your hanging baskets, says Sherborne gardener Pete Harcom – but keep watching out for frosts.
It’s the month to start planting up your hanging baskets – with some planning now you can create one of these huge balls of flowers this year

April.. at last! Things really do get going in the garden in April, there is lots to do now:

Watch out for frosts
Even if the days are warm, watch out for frosts at night, and resist the temptation to sow and plant out too early. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, and wait a few days if necessary. Protect any early outdoor sowings with fleece. The growing lawn will also need attention, including sowing fresh grass seed on any bare spots.

Hanging baskets at the ready
Hanging baskets can now be made up in a cold greenhouse. Top tip – use a pot to stand the basket
in while you plant it up!
When it’s done, either hang the basket up in the greenhouse, or keep it standing on the pot for support. Don’t hang the basket up outside until the danger of frosts is over. I have seen some baskets in the last few years that have been ‘mounded up’ to, in effect, create a large ball of flowers.
To create a huge ball of flowers lots more moss is needed to line the basket and the higher ‘mound’ (the soil is also ‘mounded up’). You need to have a basket that is not less than 15 inches in diameter, and is capable of having flowers planted through the sides of the basket (through the wire sides of the basket).
Once it’s well underway, don’t forget to deadhead the flowers throughout the season, as this helps repeat flowering. These large hanging baskets my need an irrigation drip to ensure they’re watered regularly, too.

Understand your fertiliser
These huge balls of flower will need regular feeding with a slow release fertiliser high in potash for more flowers. All fertiliser plant foods have ‘NPK’ on their packs. N stands for Nitrogen, P stands for Phosphorus and K stands for Potassium or Potash. Have a close look at the packs when next in a garden centre. A fertiliser with NPK of 7:7:7 would be a balanced fertiliser, 10:5:3 would be for early in the year plant growth (i.e high in Nitrogen), and for lots of flowers (i.e. later in the season, and hanging baskets…) an NPK of say
5:5:12 would be good.

by Pete Harcom at Sherton Abbas Gardening

Sponsored by: Thorngrove Garden Centre

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