Set up your garden for the summer
Bethany Cox gives some top tips to improve your garden, now that spring is almost upon us.
Don’t worry about those long-term jobs, like planting trees or shrubs; they are best done in the autumn.
Spring is all about making an impact in the summer, whether you’re looking for lovely organic fruits or vegetables, fragrant herbs or beautiful blooms.
Our first tip is to plant some easy vegetables – choose vegetables that are expensive in the shops, taste better when they’re squeaky-fresh, and are comparatively quick and easy to grow. Salad leaves, courgettes, runner beans and peas are good, while once you’ve had corn on the cob fresh from the garden, it will never taste the same from the supermarket again.
There are also some fabulous flowers you can grow; cornflowers, sweet peas, marigolds and nasturtiums are all easy to grow from seed and can all be sown directly into pots or flower beds outdoors to add some colour to the garden within a few weeks.
Once you’ve bought your seeds, check out the planting dates on the back of the packets and list them (a spreadsheet is ideal if you like that kind of thing).
Don’t leave it too late, otherwise your tomatoes, for example, won’t be ready to ripen in the hottest part of the year and you’ll end up with a crop of green tomatoes in the autumn instead.
Meanwhile, some seeds need starting off on a sunny windowsill or greenhouse, while others can be planted direct into a vegetable plot, flower bed or pot.
The key thing is to provide your plants with good soil; remove weeds, add plenty of compost and dig it in well, in a spot which gets plenty of sunlight. Then you just have to keep it weed-free and water regularly.
You might also want to consider creating a herb garden.
This is a simple project that can instantly transform a corner of your garden, and add flavour to your cooking.
Finally, mowing regularly keeps the lawn in good health, so once the weather warms up in early spring, you can start mowing.
For the first mowing, set the cutting height to the highest setting and then for subsequent mowings, you can gradually lower it until your lawn is the height you want.
When the soil is moist, use a spring or summer lawn fertiliser – this will help prevent weeds and moss from establishing.