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Gardening Tasks for April

Plant up your hanging basket now, but keep them inside until the risk of frost has passed.

How to plant a basket: Use a plastic liner and add drainage holes, then fill with multi-purpose compost mixed with perlite. Pop in your plants and water thoroughly, then keep in a warm and bright location protected from frost for the next couple of weeks.

Good flowers to use: Calibrachoa, Felicia amelloides, Pelargonium, Tiarella, Begonia, Verbena.

Seeds sown in February or March will need pricking out now.

How to prick out: Prepare your trays or pots by filling with multi-purpose compost, then level the surface and create a small hole in the middle for the seedlings. Afterwards, lift your seedlings from their original container and carefully place into the prepared tray. Lift only from the leaves, never from the stem or roots. Finally, firm the area around the seedlings, then water and place on a bright windowsill. Label your seedlings if you have different types or varieties.

Potatoes that have been chitting on a bright windowsill for the past few weeks will be ready to plant outside.

How to plant up your potatoes: Choose a container which will hold at least 40 litres of compost and offers good drainage. Fill the bottom with potting compost and a sprinkling of potato fertiliser. Then, earth up your tubers and evenly space three tubers on top of the compost and bury them with another layer of compost. As the stems and foliage grow, keep adding compost until the container is full.

Now is a great time to repot constricted houseplants into bigger pots.

How to repot and care for houseplants: Move the plant into a pot which is one size bigger than it’s current pot. This avoids roots sitting in wet compost, but still allows the plants to grow. Scrape off and replace the top layer of compost if your pots don’t need repotting. Cut off dead foliage back to a healthy bud or remove entire leaves. Finally, water often and feed every fortnight with a specialist feed suited your plants.

Get stakes and supports in early before plants grow further.

How to support plants: Perennials that are prone to flopping when they grow bigger need to be supported to avoid damage by bad weather and to ensure that they grow in the correct place. Buy plant support sticks, or use spare material that you have to hand, then simply push them into the soil in a circle around your plant to keep it supported. Taller plants such as sunflowers should be loosely attached to the support with soft twine to prevent flopping.

Other quick tasks to do this month:

  • Feed roses with a specialist feed high in potassium
  • Tidy lawn edges with a special edging tool or sharp spade
  • Plant lily bulbs now for summer colour and scent
  • Keep on top of weeds by weeding as soon as they appear
  • Sow hardy annuals such as cosmos indoors ready for going outdoors