Gardening: Jobs for the coming weekend with BRIAN KIDD
Continue all the good work you started during the Easter weekend with some of these tasks.
• Repair bald patches on the lawn when we have rain. Prick the soil’s surface so there are dozens of holes an inch apart and two inches deep ready for a top dressing of seed and compost. Mix 1lb of best quality grass seed to 10lb of moistened seed compost. Leave this mixture in a black polythene bag for seven to 10 days when the seed starts to produce tiny roots. Scatter the mix over the patches, water it in and new grass will form in about six weeks. Water if dry.
• Take advantage of a dry spell to plant maincrop potatoes. Ensure the tubers are covered with at least five inches of soil. Scatter blood fish and bone meal fertiliser along the rows using three ounces per yard run. Work into the surface. Finish by leaving a ridge of soil over the rows. When earthing up, use sieved compost but to each barrowload of compost add 1lb of sulphate of potash well mixed with the compost to reduce slug damage (the potash burns the slugs).
• Ground dug over in autumn may now be smothered with chickweed and other rapidly-growing annual weeds. Walk on a plank and spray the weeds with Weedol. This will kill them off in a few days but needs to be done before the weeds flower. Try to do this on a sunny day for the most rapid results and don’t allow the drift to touch cultivated plants – especially the neighbours’!
• Buy seeds of perennials. Most gardeners sow perennials in early May in seed trays in the greenhouse.
• Think about fixing an automatic ventilator in the roof light in the greenhouse. They can be really useful, especially when you are on holiday.
• Watch out for sudden hot spells. Plants in the greenhouse quickly scorch in very hot sunshine. Have some sheets of newspaper ready to cover them. This is very effective and free.
•Take the red bracts of the tips of poinsettia plants now and cut back each stem by one third. The cuts may exude a white liquid which is poisonous. Use toilet tissue to mop it up and wash hands afterwards. The plant can be potted into the next size pot into John Innes No2 compost. Water it the day before repotting.
• Canterbury bells are lovely and this is the time to sow the seeds for blooms next year.
• Remove dead flowers and seed heads on daffs and tulips. Spray roses with Roseclear 2 to prevent disease.
• Thank you for taking my advice. I hear you talking about me at garden centres all the time!