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April at the Kitchen Garden….

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With the arrival of April we are super excited here at the Kitchen Garden because we are busy getting ready to welcome our customers back to the cafe! On April 12th we can begin serving customers outside and we can’t wait!! Of course the plant shop has been open for a little while now, but it has been rather lonely without our bustling cafe on our doorstep!

But of course that’s not the only thing to be getting excited about this April….It’s officially Spring and the garden is starting to shake off it’s winter sleepiness and show signs of life again! Time to get on those wellies and dig out your gardening gloves…..

Now that the soil is beginning to warm up its time to sow some hardy annuals such as marigolds, poppies, and nigella. If you make sure to sow them in drifts its creates a more naturalistic effect which is pleasing on the eye.

It’s also time to prick out any seedlings that you have sown earlier in the season as they will need the additional space to spread their roots and grow into healthy young plants. It is important to handle your seedlings by the seed leaf and not by the stem as this may damage it and prevent it from being able to transport water and nutrients which in turn will kill it. Take hold of the seedling leaf and carefully push a flat plant label under the roots and use it to support the root ball as you transfer it to its new home.

How to prick out your seedlings

It’s also a good time to take cuttings from Pelargoniums as they will have time to root and grow into viable plants by the summer.

  • Use a pair of sharp shears to cut just above a node/bud (swollen part of the stem) – this will encourage new growth on the mother plant.
  • On the new cutting, make another cut just below a node, so that the length from the leafy tip to the node at the base is between 7.5-10 cm
  • Strip off all of the leaves, except those at the very tip of the cutting
  • Prepare a pot with gritty, free-draining compost (a mix of 50 per cent cuttings compost and 50 per cent horticultural grit)
  • Place the cuttings around the edge of the pot – about 2.5cm deep Water the plants sparingly to keep the compost barely moist
  • Put the uncovered pots in a warm, slightly shaded place until they root.
  • Keep cuttings damp and carefully transfer them into their own pot when fresh leaves start to grow.

April is also the time to start your annual Lawn Care routine in earnest:

  • Sow lawn seed, lay new turf if necessary (keep it moist until it’s established).
  • Repair any bare patches in your lawn.
  • Apply high nitrogen to boost healthy growth
  • Brush away any worm casts on dry day
  • Start to mow your lawn more regularly, as required. Start with a high blade and lowers towards the end of the month.
  • Recut lawn edges to straighten them up.
  • Aerate compacted areas of lawn, by spiking it with a garden fork.
  • it’s also worth having a careful look at your lawnmower blades to see if they need sharpening and maybe take your mower in
Peat Free April – always try to choose a Peat Free alternative

And finally….did you know that it is Peat Free April? A group of climate concerned horticulturalists have got together to campaign for the use of peat in compost to be banned and for gardeners to switch to peat free alternatives – You can find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/PeatFreeApril/ and you can sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/562054?fbclid=IwAR3FiTfqSe8FAGmRBpRLlBbtJurYzCeMyTin35gr4TEkhRF9Qvu9y4WDihE

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