With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
Just in case the rain relents and Wimbledon brings some warmer weather, Nathan James Dodd has been considering what he needs to achieve in the garden during July.
Make sure your runner beans are getting the correct amount of water especially during dry weather. 1-2 gallons per sq yd twice a week is recommended and a mulch to retain moisture would be useful. Spray the beans to encourage pollination.
Rainwater is a limited resource so recycle grey water from the bath and kitchen, and collect any that falls in a butt. Most plants prefer a steady supply of water or bolting and ailments such as tomato blossom end rot may occur.
Deadhead summer bedding regularly so that all the plants' energy goes into making new flowers. This, together with regular watering and a high potash feed, will maximise the blooms and keep the plants healthy.
Use your shears to cut back geraniums and you'll be rewarded with a second show of flowers.
Bush tomatoes don't need pinching out or staking, but to keep the fruit clean and prevent it from rotting, place some straw underneath to raise it above ground level.
Check for potato blight which is indicated by black or brown spots or patches on the leaves. To deal with it spray with Bordeaux mixture every two weeks, removing and burning affected foliage.
Thin apples, plums and pears. By removing a cluster's weakest fruits, the remaining ones will be much larger and healthier.
When you cut down Broad Beans, keep some of the pods to use as seed next year and leave the roots in the soil for their nitrogen.
Get the last beetroot sown and regularly lift them when they approach the size of a tennis ball before they taste too earthy.
Don't ease up on weeding, they compete for moisture with other plants, and then hoe and apply mulch.
Tie in new canes on summer fruiting raspberries and blackberries, cutting the old ones to the ground as soon as the last berries have been harvested. Prune blackcurrents as soon as the fruit is picked.
Plant out cabbages, cauliflowers and brussels sprouts in rich moisture retentive soils between 6.5– 7.0 pH, adding lime if necessary, taking care not to damage the roots. Make sure the cauliflowers are viable i.e. have a central bud. To guard against cabbage root fly use a brassica collar and never plant brassicas in the same place two years in succession.
When early crops are harvested from the vegetable plot, and to fill in the space between winter brassicas, sow quick growing salad leaves or winter vegetables.
Crops that can still be sown include carrots, french beans, peas and turnips together with salad ingredients such as lettuce, radish, rocket.
When strawberries have finished, tidy by removing yellow foliage, straw and unwanted runners. Make sure that you plant some of the runners as strawberry plants need to be replaced every three to four years.
Try to propagate carnations by layering i.e. choose a young side shoot, remove the lower leaves and make a cut into the stem making an incision about an inch long. Peg into adjacent soil that should be prepared with sharp sand and compost. Keep moist and roots will form after about six weeks.
If your runner beans aren't setting make sure that they are getting enough water through their roots and spray them on warm evenings. Next year it would be good to choose a more sheltered position to encourage pollinating insects and dig a large trench full of organic matter early in the season to act as a moisture reservoir.
Continue to earth up maincrop potatoes, and draw it away from onions to hasten ripening.
Nathan James Dodd
Robert Hall, senior partner at GardenSite.co.uk has been elected to sit on the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Judging Panel for 2017. The news was announced on 31st March 2017 on the GIMA website.
April, particularly if you are on holiday over Easter, is the time when gardeners, whatever their level of enthusiasm and skill, want to get into the garden. Andy Taylor looks at the gardening jobs that can be achieved this month.
With rising water temperature and kinder weather, April is a good month for pond maintenance and Dan Everton takes a look at the jobs that need to be done this month.
Pay attention to your lawn in the spring and Andy Taylor reckons you will receive dividends later in the year.