April Lawn Jobs

April is the month your lawn's growth will begin to accelerate. The milder, damp weather is perfect for grass growth. If you did not need to cut the grass in March, you certainly will in April, probably three weeks out of four.

The first time you cut the grass, make sure it is as dry as possible by leaving it until afternoon, when the sun has had a chance to dry it out. Cut it on the longest setting your mower has on the first cut.

If you have a composting mower, there will be more clippings on the lawn than usual, because the grass is that much longer. Otherwise, collect the grass cuttings and sprinkle them on your compost heap.

You need to apply a lawn fertilizer and weed killer in April. This is not to make your grass grow faster, but to grow more healthily, as well as to kill weeds like dandelions and buttercups, which will otherwise spread and, eventually kill the grass, by depriving it of light

Apply the fertilizer and weed killer when the grass is damp, a few days after cutting and when rain is expected the next day. Follow the directions carefully, applying too much can damage your lawn for months.

Avoid walking on the grass or cutting it for about a week after treating it.

Hedges in April

The only hedges you will need to clip are evergreen honeysuckle ones. Cut them back hard until you reach strong growth. They will produce more shoots, just below where you cut, making for stronger growth over the summer, rather than the straggly hedge that will develop quickly if it is left untrimmed.

Watch out for nesting birds while you are clipping. Cut it early in the month, if you can, before too many birds build their nests.

Either leave the trimmings on the ground or collect them for composting.

Roses in April

Your roses should be showing growth this month. April is a good time to plant any bare-root roses you may have bought. Dig a deep hole, add a scoop of bone meal, or blood, fish and bone fertilizer and fill the hole with water. Spread the rose's roots as far as you can and place it in the hole, so that the junction where the rose has been grafted onto the roots is just above ground level. Fill the hole up with earth, or compost.

April Vegetable Jobs

Sow a packet of leek seeds, or some of your own seeds that you saved last year. Sprinkle them in a bucket or trough and cover lightly with soil or compost. Use buckets rather than seed trays, especially if you are forgetful about watering.

Leeks in neglected seed trays in May and June will die, the bucket of compost holds a bigger store of water, so any leeks planted in buckets will survive. The bucket also encourages deeper root systems, meaning your leeks will grow faster when you transplant them to the soil.

Sow peas in troughs 2 or 3 inches apart. If you plant them in the ground mice will eat them. The trough's turned over lip stops mice getting to your peas.

Plant your onion sets about 6 inches apart. You will not be able to hoe between the onions, so put mulch down when you have planted the sets. The mulch will inhibit most weed growth.

Plant tomato seeds indoors in damp seed trays. Keep the trays warm to encourage the seeds to germinate. If you are growing more than one variety of tomato, be very careful to label each seed tray. It is best to use twelve compartment seed trays to sow tomato seeds, this gives the plants' roots space to develop.

Sow turnip seed in the ground. It needs to be sown thinly, so mix it with a handful of compost before sprinkling it thinly onto the soil, where the turnips are to grow. Add lime to the soil to prevent the turnips splitting. This happens because the plant cannot absorb boron from the soil unless the soil is neutral or slightly alkaline.

Sow spinach in the ground. Fresh spinach is delicious and easy to grow. Make a six-inch wide shallow drill and sprinkle the seed along it evenly. Cover the seed lightly with soil and wait. The spinach shows above ground as pairs of long thin leaves at first, so be careful not to weed these out.

Sow carrots if your soil is not heavy and if it has no fresh compost added. Sow them thinly, ideally about three inches apart. You will be picking the carrots when they are small, so three inches apart is fine. Plant a row of spring onions on either side of the row of carrots to reduce the risk of carrot root fly.

Fill a container with fresh compost and sprinkle 'cut and come again' lettuce seeds on it. Cover lightly with compost, firm the compost down and wait. In six weeks you will be eating your own lettuce.

Shrubs – April Jobs

Cut out old growth from vigorous shrubs like weigela. This will encourage new growth and the shrubs will become more bushy. Stick the bits you cut off into buckets of used compost, if they grow then transplant them to increase your stock of shrubs.

Annuals – April Jobs

You should sow any annuals you are growing from seed into troughs of fresh compost, sow the seed thinly. As soon as the seedlings have the first pair of proper leaves transplant them to another container, but 2 or 3 inches apart. You can leave them in this container until their roots are established and the plants are large enough to go into the ground.

Sowing seeds directly into the ground is very wasteful. You will hoe and weed out most of the seedlings you are trying to grow. You should grow all your annuals in trays or larger containers until they are about 3 inches high. You are unlikely to mistake these larger seedlings for undesirable weeds.