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Five spring gardening tips

There is plenty to do in the garden in the late springtime. You will probably have spent March undertaking tasks such as fertilising beds, putting up supports for plants such as peas and other climbers and cleaning and resurfacing paths. You will also have been sowing vegetable seeds and checking them for weeds once they come through.

Here are five jobs that commonly require attention in the late spring so that your garden will be looking at its best in the summer and autumn.

1)      Remember the general maintenance tasks

-       Order summer bedding and hanging basket plants.
-       Scrub out that greenhouse; this will eliminate pests and allow more light to get in.
-       Prepare your beds by digging in compost or manure.
-       Lift and split up perennial plants to encourage more prolific growth.
-       Dead head daffodils and tulips, but leave their leaves, which will put nutrients back into the soil for next year’s bulbs.
-       If you have a garden water pump, check that it is functioning properly, or if needs repairing or cleaning.

2)      Consider making your vegetable garden more efficient

-       Remove all weeds from your seed beds.
-       If you don’t already have them, build some raised beds, which will take a lot of the donkey work out of weeding and managing your vegetable garden.
-       Cover soil with black plastic to warm it up and keep down the weeds.
-       Dig a 5cm layer of compost or manure into the beds.

3)      Prepare for a good fruit crop in the autumn

-       Protect fruit blossom from late frost by covering with fleece.
-       Feed raspberry canes and fruit trees with a slow-release fertiliser at the base.
-       Have you ever tried hand-pollinating peach trees with a soft brush? It can do wonders for your crops.
-       If you have a large garden and you are finding the watering a daunting task, consider using submersible pumps in conjunction with an irrigation system to make life a little easier.

4)      Introduce more colour into your garden in May

-       You can sow sunflowers directly into the ground for a fast-growing ray of sunshine.
-       Sow nasturtium seeds in pots or the ground; these are good for a burst of colour, and are delicious in salads.
-       Nigella has very attractive, unusual flowers and seed heads; again, this is an edible crop.
-       Now that the risk of frost has passed, it's time to get a batch of annual geraniums/pelargoniums. They will flower from now until at least October and look magnificent in pots.

5)      Don’t forget the wildlife in your garden

-       A pond is a good way to introduce wildlife into your garden; don’t forget to think about pond pumps for efficient cleaning.
-       Although you will be mowing the lawn more frequently in the springtime, now is the time to think about leaving an area of grass to grow wild and leave those nettles alone in a few places.
-       Don’t forget to leave water and food out for birds at this time of year; this is not limited to the winter alone.

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