Jobs – April
a freezing February and a cold start to March, hopefully spring has
sprung and the grass is ris. With the soil warming up and drying out,
now is a good time to complete any digging and clear away any debris
from last year. But time is now of the essence if you wish to take
advantage of Scotland’s short growing season. Keep a close eye on
the weather during April as frosts are still common.
is still time to plant early seed potatoes, but be quick. Don’t
worry if they are not chitted, they will soon put up shoots. Plant
tubers 10 – 15 centimetres (4 – 6 inches) deep, rose end up
approximately 18 inches apart and 2 feet between rows.
first early potato shoots against frost by earthing up as they break
through the soil. Second earlies and maincrop seed potatoes can
now be planted.
to sow outdoors:
seeds can now be sown directly into prepared drills. Sow carrot,
beetroot, turnip, swede, parsnip, peas, broad beans, runner beans,
mangetout, lettuce, radish, rocket, swiss chard, salsify, sprouting
broccoli along with any other of your favourites.
aware, many seeds won’t germinate until the soil temperature has
reached about 12ºC,
to sow indoors in trays or pots:
in a greenhouse or cold frame - celeriac, kale, parsley, leeks,
brussel sprouts, summer and winter cabbage, cauliflower, lemon grass,
comfrey, calabrese, squash and pumpkins. Towards the end of the
month start sowing sweetcorn, cucumber, courgette, ready for
planting out in mid-May. Chiilies and peppers can be grown in a
greenhouse if you have one.
onion and shallot sets
you have space, now is the time to plant onion sets. White
onions are relatively cheap in the shops but red onions and shallots
are much more expensive, so it’s worth thinking about growing
up bean supports
in place wigwams or rows of canes ready for your runner and climbing
french beans. As the ground is soft, it will be easy to push
the canes into the soil.
started indoors that are to be grown outside can be hardened off on
warm still days. Place them outside during the day, but take
them in again late afternoon. Do this for about a week so that they
get used to the cooler conditions before being planted outside.
on top of weeding:
is much easier to deal with weeds whilst they are small. Pick
them out by hand or use a trowel or hoe. Doing this regularly
will mean a weed free plot, and nowhere for pests (especially slugs)
plants from frost
a frost has been forecast, protect plants using horticultural fleece
herbs, such as chive, oregano, mint and tarragon can be dug up and
divided in early April, just before proper growth begins.
Divide the root clump, re-plant and water well.
up your strawberry beds or pots
any dead or damaged leaves and old runners from the plants. Plants
should be replaced after 3 fruiting years.
a mulch to soft fruits
soft fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants,
blackcurrants, and gooseberries will benefit from a mulch.
Garden compost, leaf mould, organic manure, straw, hay and spent
mushroom compost can all be used.
an acidic mulch to blueberries and cranberries
are acid loving plants, so mulch with an 8cm (3in) layer of acidic
material such as bark or old pine needles (kept from your christmas
stone fruit trees
avoid risk of infection, stone fruits, such as plum, cherry, peach,
nectarine and apricot should only be pruned during the growing
season. Prune late April, when the plants are in leaf and after
flowering. Immediately seal all cuts greater than 1cm (½in)
with wound paint.
mowing with the blades high, gradually reducing to a normal height by
end of month. Feed with a lawn feed or a general fertiliser such as
Growmore spread at the correct amount. Growmore gives excellent
results. Strong growing lawns require cutting every week from June to
August inclusive. Avoid scalping the lawn as this will cause
unsightly brown patches. Treat and or remove lawn weeds using a
selective lawn weed killer or a weed extraction tool. Fill in any
bare patches by re-sowing or laying turf.
main pests to watch for:
Snails, chafer grubs, leather jackets and pigeons
and Snails love nice juicy new leaves and stems, take action to limit
will devastate the leaves, stems and growing tips of newly planted
brassica’s, cover plants to avoid damage.
grubs and Leather Jackets are lawn pests that resurface in spring
munching grass roots along the way. Autumn is the best time to apply
a biological control.
Michael Gourlay Chairman