Although the weather is feeling decidedly chilly for the time of the year, during May the threat of frost will pass and, with spring well under way, David Coton is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.
Look after your lawn in spring and Nathan James Dodd says it will pay dividends later on in the season. After a long winter the lawn will be crying out for a good lawn care product. The resultant healthy growth will make it more resilient for the coming year, thickening the grass and discouraging many potential problems.
A granular spring feed that releases its goodness over a period of several weeks is probably best. The three key ingredients are a high percentage of Nitrogen for colour and growth, Phosphorous for a good root system and Potash to strengthen the plant so it will better survive stress such as drought.
Follow the application instructions carefully, I once had a neighbour who mis-read the instructions on the packet and his lawn, instead of verdant green, turned into torched brown. You can scatter the feed by hand or purchase a spreader. If you spread by hand, perhaps mark out a small area first and practise applying the correct amount.
A healthy lawn that has been well fed and looked after will discourage weeds but if you have inherited a poor lawn then choose an all in one feed with weed killer. If you don't have too many weeds, dig them out individually – always extracting the tap root.
If you don't want a bad back, there are thankfully products available to eliminate weeds without bending down. Fill any holes with top soil and grass seed.
If, like me, your biggest problem is moss. It thrives in cold winter and may have invaded most of the lawn of the winter. The all in one feed may include moss killer or you can buy it separately but wait until the grass has resumed growing before applying it.
Once the moss has died, scarify the grass with a manual or motorised rake or scarifier. After the last time I did this, the lawn looked like the fifth day pitch at Edgbaston during a hot summer. More dry earth than grass. But don't despair.
You must then aerate the soil, lessening the compaction. This can be done by buying or hiring a machine. Then overseed by hand or spreader and, to protect the seed, apply a top dressing which is a mixture of sand, peat and loam. Alternatively, you could also mix the seed with the top dressing and work in well.
Make sure the lawn is kept moist to encourage the seed to germinate. If you can discourage birds all the better but this will be easier if you only have a small area to protect.
Even if your lawn doesn't need scarifying it will benefit from aeration, overseeding and top dressing. This will improve the density of the grass after a miserable winter and rejuvenate bare patches.
When you have now knocked the lawn into shape for the spring, to keep the grass in tip top condition you must put into action a programme of mowing, feeding and maintenance throughout the summer. The grass will become thick, strong and healthy, ready and able to fight off weeds and moss.
Robert Hall reviews the new Halls Qube Greenhouse, stating that; this is a major evolutionary step in greenhouse design. Read his full review of the new range here.
GardenSite were once again pleased to support the Boldmere Community Festival which took place on 18 November, with the Christmas Lights switched on by Alan Gardner, well known for his appearances as TV's Autistic Gardener.
Whether it's a bleak December or the more mild weather we are becoming used to, you can still spend useful time in the garden during the last month of the year. David Coton suggests some garden jobs that can occupy the short days.
An iced over pond will have a detrimental effect on animal and plant pond life, although fish and amphibians will survive under a frozen surface for some time, ice traps gases escaping from decaying material and prevents oxygen from entering the water.