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Things to do in the garden in April

Spring is definitely here with daffodils, primroses and forsythia bursting into colour, quickly followed by hyacinths, tulips and flowering cherries. Everywhere you look in the garden, leaves and flowers are appearing.

It also marks the start of a very busy period for gardeners. It is not just flowers that grow – so do the weeds. Flowerbeds will need regular weeding to avoid colonies of bitter cress, dandelions, thistles and nettles developing. A good selection of hand tools is ideal for delicate work around plants, but for larger areas especially in the vegetable garden, a Dutch hoe is the perfect answer. Used with a backwards forwards motion, it cuts and uproots weeds before they can establish strong roots.

As the days become longer and temperatures rise, lawns begin to grow again. The first few cuts of any lawn during spring should be kept light. Bear in mind that April can be a very changeable month. There can be periods of showers and heavy rain, but also long periods of dryness. If you cut the lawn too quickly and too low at this time of the year, it will struggle to survive periods of low rainfall and potential drought.

Continue sowing hardy annuals in the garden, along with onions, garlic, carrots, peas, spinach, beetroot and other leafy vegetables. Sweetcorn and beans can be started in modules within the greenhouse or on a warm windowsill. Lettuce is best grown under cloches as it needs some protection against cold nights. Sorrel is a lovely hardy plant worth growing in a corner of the vegetable patch as it provides a good supply of fresh leaves throughout the spring. The tangy lemon taste adds a nice touch to salads. Once established, it will grow quickly and provide a long leaf supply. Remove the flower spikes as they begin to form to prolong the fresh leaf production.

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