With the end of March and the first glimpses of spring on the horizon, along with a lot of quarantined people who are at a loose end, we at Rinkit thought it would be the perfect time to release this year’s spring gardening guide! Gardening is a great way to keep kids busy, as well as yourself, and an amazing way of soaking up some crucial D3.
Covering everything from preparation to flower planting times, vegetable planting guides and even some trees, shrubs, and climbers,along with some handy-dandy products to help you on your way. This is the all in one guide, and everything you will need for spring. So, settle in and start to think about what you want to see in your garden this year.
April and May are two of the busiest months in the garden calendar, with the weather warming up the garden comes back to life and spring hits its stride. There is a lot to get done in a pretty short amount of time.
There is still plenty of time to plant climbers, trees and shrubs. You bird lovers out there should be adding your nesting boxes to the north sides of trees before the nesting season starts in earnest. Find time to turn over the soil and compost of beds and borders. Make sure to provide plenty of ventilation for plants in greenhouses, cloches and cold frames, as temperatures inside can very quickly rise on warm, sunny days. Although do bear in mind that the nights can still get frosty and tender shoots will need protection!
Also be prepared for the inevitable invasion of slugs, snails and other pests, as both young seedling and new lush growth will be in their sights. Avoid using slug pellets where you can, they pose a deadly threat to wildlife and household pets. Some organic alternatives are odd but seem to work just as well: surrounding plants with a layer of coffee grounds, crushed eggshell or fine grit, or preventing them from even getting close with a ring of copper tape. Although the very best method is to encourage wildlife to venture into your little slice of heaven, as most will predate these common pests.
If you have any compost ready to go from a winter of vegetable cuttings, now is the time to use them! Or get started, it’s never too late to start making quality mulch for your plants. The Harbour Housewares Vintage Metal Kitchen Compost Bin is ideal for this job, and we can’t recommend it enough.
Make sure to remove perennial weeds (as well as any others you can spot), as unchecked these will flourish and take over. Also begin to take cuttings from your annuals and perennials, such as fuchsias, dahlias and geraniums, as you will want to start propagating.
One of a gardener’s best friends is the traditional garden hoe. An ancient and versatile horticultural and agricultural hand tool, the hoe can be used to shape soil. Remove weeds, clear soil and harvest root crops! Which is pretty much 70% of what you will need to do to prepare the ground for planting and maintaining your garden. The Harbour Housewares Azada Garden Hoe fulfills all of these needs, ensuring professional results at fantastic value for money. At 120cm it’s a lot of bang for your buck!
Now is the ideal time to visit your local garden centre or nursery, stock up on herbaceous plants while there is still a good selection. Established perennials that have been growing well for three years or more will need to be lifted and divided, so that they continue to flower well.
Under cover planting
Now is the perfect time to sow the quicker growing, semi-hardy annuals indoors or under cover, such as our Harbour Housewares PVC Grow Tunnel Greenhouse. Why not try some Arctotis, African and French marigolds, cosmos and verbena? Provide a temperature of 16°C (60°F) for these guys and they will quickly establish themselves. Try sowing a few hardy alpines now, such as campanula and saxifrage, to brighten up your garden over the next few months. Alpines needless heat to germinate and do well in a cold frame.
Any early bulbs that have finished flowering and whose foliage might be starting to yellow and wilt can be dried-off for storage and replanting in the autumn (think daffodils). It’s the perfect time to start planting out gladiolus corms, providing your soil is frost-free and not waterlogged. Plant out any autumn-sown sweet peas you were fortunate enough to sow, as these will really start to take off now. Remember taller growing forms should be stakes at planting time. If you happened to plant any sweet peas last month you should pinch out the buds, as much better flowers are produced on the side growths than from the main stem.
A fantastic selection of April plants that can be sown outside are:
Bergenia (elephants ears)
Early Flowering Tulips
Sweet Violet (V. odorata)
Of course, flowers don’t have to be planted in the ground, an excellent way of displaying your green fingers is to utilise pots! If you have a balcony or a paved outside area these are a fantastic way of bringing nature and serenity to your home. Check out our range of plant pots and other accessories here.
With the warmer weather and increased light, many more vegetables can be got under way!
Under cover planting
Start sowing tomatoes, aubergines and peppers, with either a heated propagator, greenhouse or sunny windowsill. These plants can be started this early, provided your temperatures are between 18-21°C (65-70°F). You can even force French beans to start growing with this method (usually a much later in the year crop). Outside but still under cover, such as under our Harbour Housewares Cold Frame - Twin Cover, you should start sowing cucumber, celery and celeriac.
Get ready, this is a mighty list of vegetables you could be growing!
If you’re an all-seasons gardener then now is a great time to harvest spinach beets, purple sprouting broccoli and some early spring greens.
An excellent way of getting your veg off to a good start in life is with a greenhouse or grow box. Luckily we have exactly what you need, with the collection of plant protection and support gardening tools!
Most of the trees and shrubs should already have been planted, especially deciduous and bare-rooted ones, though you still have a week or 2 you could get away with planting for. And container grown stock can be planted virtually all year round. Evergreen and conifers can be planted now, as well as the delicate grey or silver-leafed shrubs such as artemisia, lavender, rosemary and santolina.
Climbers can be planted against a thick wall or by a trellis now to brighten up a wall or fence. Depending on the type of grower your climber is will dictate how you plant it. Provide a trellis for plants with twining growth, or wires for a climber that clings naturally with tendrils. Bushy climbers, such as roses, can be tied to a trellis or fence. For annual climbers a simple lightweight mesh can be used, or a wig-wham made from canes.
A beautiful selection of April trees, shrubs, and climbers that are ready to be planted this month are:
Unless you are planning on subsistence farming, bear in mind that this is meant to be a happy hobby, so try not to let it consume you! Gardening is an excellent time sink and with the situation around COVID-19 you may be looking for one. So get out there and make your garden your own, be it with veg, tree or flower, there’s nothing quite like seeing your efforts come to fruition.