APRIL TIPS

Now the soil is warming up and the garden is beginning to look green and vibrant, it is time to prepare for the growing season. 

Plant out second early potatoes in the first half of the month and maincrop potatoes in the second half. 

Improve the vigour of border plants in need of a boost, especially roses, with general-purpose fertilisers such as Growmore or Vitax Q4, then mulch with a thick layer of well-rotted manure or home-made garden compost. 

• Get a head start by sowing tender vegetables in the greenhouse ready for planting out once the danger of frosts is over. Sow sweetcorn for planting out in early June; courgettes and squash are easy to grow and can be sown now. 

• Sow or turf new lawns and feed established lawns ahead of any summer drought. 

• When sowing greenhouse crops, sow seed thinly to prevent fungal diseases. Damping off, a common fungal disease on young seedlings, is encouraged by overcrowding, lack of light and overly wet compost. 

• Divide summer-flowering perennials now if not completed last month. 

• Improve the soil with well-rotted organic matter before replanting, then water well if the weather is dry. 

• Plant out all summer-flowering bulbs such as gladioli. Most will enjoy a sunny position, well-drained soil and full sun and if planted at intervals during the month, will give a succession of flowers through the summer. 

• Sow annual or perennial wild-flower seeds to attract beneficial insects. You can convert a patch of lawn or include some space in the border. 

• Finish moving and planting evergreen trees and shrubs. 

• Lightly fork over the soil and pull up any weeds before they set seed. Many hardy annuals and biennials seed prolifically, so self-sown seedlings such as foxgloves may need editing and moving to another location if required.