We have had a late season after a topsy turvey year. Temperatures were 13 degrees c before Xmas and recently max temperatures as low as 8 degrees with snow and frosts. With temperatures starting to rise now, (at long last), those of us who have become a bit behind on our gardening chores, can now focus and quickly catch up. In the Kitchen Garden, vegetables will establish much quicker as the weather warms, so you should carry on as planned.
The mild, wet autumn and early winter has encouraged moss and algae so why not treat lawns with Evergreen complete or Mosskill with lawn food to help tidy this up. Paving can also be slippery with algae, but can be helped with Patio Magic to clean this off and reduce slipping.
In the garden, good plant growth starts with having a healthy soil. Organic material will help the structure and feeds improve plant performance by up to double the growth rate, or flowering, depending on the nutrient used.
A good example is an Organic blend soil conditioner which is peat free, and improves the soil structure both in clay and sandy soils.
A good organic feed to use early in the season is Fish, Blood and Bone. This breaks down in season and encourages good bacteria in the soil. Producing your own compost from Kitchen waste and garden weeds is also another good way to encourage these good bacteria. Growmore or Vitax Q4 are alternative good base feeds.
Miracle gro slow release pellets can be sprinkled on the surface and raked in. They can also be mixed in or sprinkled onto the surface of pots, eg the Ericaceous version for Rhododendrons or Azaleas. The warmer the temperatures get, the more they release their feeds. Liquids are then for a quick boost in the growing season.
Nitrogen (N) encourages leaf production. Phosphates (P) encourages strong roots. Potassium (K) encourages flowers and fruit.
Think carefully about which compost is going to suite your garden best and gardening requirements with our suggestions below.
John Innes is best for longer term plants in pots, such as Shrubs and Trees that will remain in the same pots for years. Rhododendrons will be best in an Ericaceous compost with added John Innes.
Multipurpose composts are fine for one year crops such as Bedding plants, or potting on, before planting outside.
Miracle gro Moisture control compost stores and releases water in twice the volume of other composts. It also has a slow release feed that lasts for up to 6 months. This is ideal for Hanging baskets and Patio pots.
Rose, Tree and Shrub compost is ideal for planting out these plants, and can be supplemented with the Rose and Shrub food.
Quickly prune your Roses back hard if you haven’t already done so. Buddlejas can also be cut back hard in the spring, to keep them fresh and manageable.
As a general rule, you can prune shrubs that flower late in the summer/ autumn, in the spring. Shrubs that flower in the spring should be pruned after they have flowered, in the early summer.
Any fruit trees that are becoming established are best left until the summer, to encourage slower growth and encourage flowering buds.
With all of the above, your garden will be springing into action before you know it and you will have given it a great start to the season!