Refresh your outdoor space with Charlie Albone's list of garden tasks to complete before spring.
Spring is all about flowers coming back to the garden and the plant combinations and possibilities are endless.
To make sure your plants flower, you’ll need lots of sun to encourage them to grow and bloom to their full potential.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your garden by preparing it for the new season:
1. You should start by pulling out any weeds that have survived through winter. Manually pulling them out is the most effective and instantaneous way to get rid of them, but herbicides can also be used for larger areas. Make sure you read and follow the instructions properly as more weed spray doesn’t make them die quicker!
2. If you haven’t already enriched the soil with compost and organic matter such as rotted chicken or cow manure, now is the time to do it. Dig it through to the depth of your spade to get it right into the top soil - this will also aerate the soil and free it up ready for your new plants.
3. Cut back any plants that are getting too big for their space - as a rule of thumb, taking a third out of a plant won’t hurt it and it will free it up for fresh growth. This will also allow for more space around the plant for new stock.
4. Plan you planting properly and work out not only the best spot for each plant (for aspect, soil type and water requirements) but also how big it will grow so it doesn’t take over.
5. Growing from seed is rewarding and inexpensive but there is more risk and time involved. Advanced plants are expensive but more instantaneous. For slow growing plants, I like to buy big. For fast growers, go for smaller stock. For everything else in between, I like to go for the middle of the road and buy punnets of 6-12 small plants that can be planted out and grown on in situ.
6. Keeping up with watering your plants is vital as they’ll need this for establishment and ongoing strong growth. It’s also a good idea to feed with a complete liquid fertiliser monthly and then substitute it for a fruit and flower specific one when you see flower buds forming.
7. Mulching with an organic mulch such as pea straw or sugar cane will help maintain soil moisture, as well as breaking down quickly to improve the soil and suppress weeds. Apply it to a thickness of 75mm - not too thick to stop water getting down, but still thick enough to work as an insulating blanket.