Spring Blog from John Cavill
Our gardening expert says
As winter starts to lose its grip on our gardens and spring shows signs of taking our gardens forward towards the summer, here are some great tips to help you get your gardens ready for the seasons ahead.
This is the time for a garden spring clean.
This time of year is great to remove any of last year’s debris from your garden. Old leaves, dead leaves and any winter die back on your plants. Pull (with the roots) any of last year’s weeds that are still in your garden and dig the soil to add air ready for the new season. New weeds do have a habit of growing quickly at this time of year so hoe them out as soon as they appear too.
“If you can compost the leaves and plant debris then it would be good to do so but never add the weeds to the compost, they will just compost and make more weeds.”
Some of this year’s plants will by now be showing signs of growth with bright green shoots so they would love a boost for the next season. You could mulch over them with 25 to 50mm (1” to 2”) of organic mulch like well-rotted manure or compost. Mulching all the beds with an organic mulch will be good too as it improves the soil before the summer.
- You can also mulch around plants, shrubs and trees.
- There are lots of organic mulches like woodchip, bark, Strulch and coco shells although with coco shells you have to take care with pets as they are poisonous if eaten.
Then there is the feeding.
- I use Chicken pellets in large tubs and I spread over the beds by hand.
- I just sprinkle them out and the rain breaks them down and washes them into the soil.
- Any well balanced feed would be good but take care to follow the instructions as too much feed at this time of year can sometimes hurt the plants too.
If you have shrubs with woody stems like Buddleia and lavender then the spring is a great time to give them a healthy prune. If hard frosts are due you should wait until they are gone, but trimming them into shape will encourage new growth from the trimmed branches.
If your perennial plants like delphiniums, Lupins, Verbena or Rudbeckia have survived the winter with lots of growth on them then they need a trim too. As the winters get milder we see this more and more so trim back any tatty leaves, stems and foliage to encourage new growth from the best parts of the plants.