After having not really seen too much winter weather, and having felt rather more ‘April Showers’ than we might have expected for this time of year, it’s starting to look like it might be time to forget about the 2013/2014 winter, and crack on with preparing for and planning what to do in the garden this Spring Time (once we’ve recovered from the flooding)!
Install a water butt
The irony may be that after the record rain fall we’ve had in recent weeks, the majority of the rain for the season may now have fallen. But don’t let that put you off, whether we continue to have torrents this year, or whether you don’t need the rain butt until next year, you will undoubtedly help both the environment by collecting water, but also your own plant life as rain water actually benefits ericaceous plants.
Clean out the weeds now!
If you haven’t yet done your winter clear out of weeds, you may be lucky as it’s not too terrible weather to get stuck in and do it now! The sooner you do it the better, giving the weeds less time to get settled, and start going to seed and putting down roots –by doing so now you’ll be saving yourself a lot of effort when everything starts sprouting manically again in spring!
If you have debris like leaves now is the time to remove it from flower borders and lawns, and cut back the herbaceous perennials. Behave similarly in the green house, removing debris, cutting back, and sweeping any debris outside. It’s important to remove any traces of winter pests and diseases, so be thorough in disinfecting the benches, glass, nooks and crannies, and even the floor.
Make sure to pick a bright and dry day to do this, as it’s best to leave the green house open for ventilation for a day or even a few if possible. Clean your gardening tools too, as disease can also be spread by dirty tools!
Order your seeds for summer!
When it’s not a bright and dry day, do some gardening indoors! Have a look online, or venture to the garden centre for a browse and a cup of tea, and select your summer-flowering bulbs eg. Ranunculus or Lilies. You will be able to plant these in early Spring (as long as you have them available in time), and they will then look gorgeous in the summer.
Even in mid-February it’s not too early to start sowing some seeds. Plants which require longer, eg Geraniums and Begonias, need to be grown for longer. However they do need the heat, so either find a propagator or work out another way to ensure the longer term seeds get sufficient warmth for growth. You can start seeds in window sills and only move them out once the frosts have gone, gently acclimatising them when the weather is a little warmer.
Seeds don’t germinate in less than 7 degrees, so another idea is to cover patches of soil with sheets of glass or plastic, by doing so you trap the sun’s heat and warm the soil up, whilst protecting the soil from dampness which can then cool, drown, or even freeze the soil.
Prepare to compost!
You don’t need to be landscape gardeners to invest in a compost heap, even tiny London gardens can benefit! In a smaller scale household and garden, composting is a great way to dispose of organic waste and boost the growth of your garden. You can buy or build a compost area. Make sure to compost a mixture of grass cuttings, veg peelings, wood prunings and even paper. Remember to give it a nudge by gently turning it with a garden fork once a month.
Karen has always been a keen gardener, although as she currently runs 2 businesses and spends time with her ever increasing number of grandchildren, she has sought help and advice from All Seasons, a landscape gardening business who work in the local area.