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Feed your garden

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Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 09:00

April showers notwithstanding, there is now the real promise of lovely bright days to come, with all the plants in the garden shooting up to make the most of the sunshine.

Start feeding the fruit in the garden, as most soft fruits will be flowering soon. Applying a balanced general fertiliser – such as Growmore or blood, fish and bone – at the rate of about 70g per square metre will give them a real boost.

Use a balanced general fertiliser

Three major elements are required by plants to grow successfully: potassium (K) for successful flower and fruit production, nitrogen (N) to promote good foliage, and phosphorus (P) for strong roots. A balanced general fertiliser contains the right amount of all three.

April is the time to thin peaches, almonds, apricots and nectarines. It seems heartbreaking to do this, but if you allow too many fruits to develop it will weaken the plant and only produce small fruit.
Protect strawberries from frost at night when they are flowering with fleece to make sure you have a good crop – frosts can still happen even in April!

Sow sunflower seeds into 9cm pots and provide some bottom heat if you have a propagator. Once the plants are established, grow them on in a cooler environment. Make sure you put a cane in the pot and attach the plant at regular intervals. Put in a cold-frame in May to allow them to harden off and you can plant them outside in nicely prepared soil in late May.

If we have a dry patch during April, make sure that any newly planted trees and shrubs have sufficient water whilst their roots establish. Windy weather can be very drying too and goodness knows we have had our share of that!

Harvest asparagus for six weeks

Start harvesting asparagus when the spears are 15-20cm tall. New spears will soon emerge, so you can keep harvesting for six weeks and then leave the plants to rest.

If you have any of the lovely perennial penstemons that have overwintered and look scruffy and woody, you can give them a trim until they are about 10-15cm high. New shoots will soon come up from the base.

They are a really good plant for the mixed border and flower all through the summer. Penstemon ‘Blackbird’ is a lovely dark purple variety that I particularly like.

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