So today was the spring Equilux. What? I hadn't heard of it until today either. It means a day when daylight hours and equal to darkness hours. At last...….
Hot on its heels, is the Spring Equinox...this Sunday, March 20th. Then the following Sunday, British Summer Tome officially starts too. If I could, I'd do cartwheels and throw a big party -its been a long, wet, dark, cold winter. Obviously I can't. So, to celebrate, I'll probably just go in the garden - because I can, and knowing that the daylight will start stretching further towards high summer.
So what will I do in my garden? Yes, this really is just a list of jobs, tips and advice for now. Just 5 - so make your list and crack on. Little jobs now, will make a big difference later on.
Just because the seed packet says you can sow outside now, doesn't mean you should. Is it really warm enough? look at night time temperatures. In the North West, I'll be waiting for a few weeks yet. The tale goes that back in the day, estate gardeners would drop their trousers and sit on the soil. Feel warm? time to plant. I'm not sure I'd advocate today - unless you have a very secluded garden and a need to connect with nature in this busy technology led world
Meanwhile - inside is full of seed trays and 100's of plants needing pricking out. Don't forget to wait until you can see a set of true plant leaves before you move them on. These real leaves will feed your plant now.
Too soon Perfect to move on to single pots to grow on
3. If it does warm up - watch out for slugs and snails on new young growth. They get going when the soil temperature hits 5 C. What to do? For me there are 3 approaches.
a. Grow plants that don't attract them. Lupins are impossible for me. Even plants grown in pots and placed on a high table have been known to disappear over night.
b. Use organic nematodes for slugs. You water these into the soil - and then the nematodes stop the slugs feeding and they die. I'd suggest this for pots only.
c. Make sure your plants are in the right place and not stressed. Your garden will have different micro climates. I used to grow Hostas in a shady corner. Then 3 of my neighbours cut down all their trees (that's another story)… and this corner now gets fantastic sun. Even with nematodes, my Hostas looked like fine Nottingham lace by July. So I moved some to the bottom of the garden to a very dark, damp place. Guess what? They looked fabulous. No nematodes - just lush , green leaves. I finished moving them all here only 2 weeks ago. Can't wait to see what it looks like in summer. Remember, right place, right plant - a happy healthy plant in general means less pest and disease issues.
You can do the night time head torch and bucket patrol, and remove the pesky "offenders"- but truthfully, I can't be bothered. They should be there and many things eat them - Hedgehogs for example. In the last 20 years, the UK urban Hedgehog population has declined by 97%...…so, we only have ourselves to blame.
4. Weeds. If they are growing - hoe them off and then mulch with compost etc...Do it now before things get really growing, so you can see them and easily deal with them. Do this now, and you'll probably not have to weed to much later on. My garden is very densely planted, so the weeds eventually get shaded out - so this job now saves me time later. Also, the bonus of dense planting - can's see them anyway....
5.Take a look at your garden furniture - does it need a wash / rub down, oil - whatever it needs? I'd make sure its ready now , before you really need it. It is Easter soon, and I have been know to get very sunburned in March / April, (remember SPF everyday- and don't miss the back of your neck like I used to do) so do take time also to just relax in your garden.
It will also soon be April 12th …… time to get ready to welcome those family and friends into your space in style - fingers crossed