April is the month when the Spanish garden really begins to take off. If you have followed all my blog posts to date then you should have your garden in hand and ready for the joys of Summer. From now on I will try to make posts more frequent as there is lots to do at this time of year.
🌻 Prick out your seedlings: A few weeks ago I planted a range of seedlings in my mini 3 shelf greenhouse. Although there have been some failures – mainly my fault by sowing just as the weather went dull – but overall they have been very successful (see picture above). Now is the time to prick them out and plant them in trays with more space between them. I use a pencil to gently ease out clumps of seedlings, then picking them up by the leaves – never the stem- I replant them; 24 to a normal seed tray. Pick only the best and strongest seedlings and discard the rest on the compost heap; heartbreaking I know but necessary. Place the trays back in your mini greenhouse or place in a sheltered and not full sun area of your garden.
🌻 Plant new roses. This month is your last opportunity to plant roses in Spain. But these must be potted roses as bare root will not survive at this time of year. Dig a hole at least twice the size of the root ball. Fill the hole with water and leave to drain fully. In the meantime soak your rose in its pot and again let this drain over an hour or so. Start by placing some well rotted compost at the base of the hole then add some granular rose food. Place the rose root ball into the hole and then backfill with a mixture of soil and compost adding rose food as you go. When planting roses it is important that the bud union is at least two inches below the soil. Water the roses profusely and them mulch the top with compost or bark chipping to keep the moisture in. Keep well watered over the next few weeks.
🌻 Repair damaged lawn areas: I use the soil dug from the roses to repair areas of my lawn that have gone bare or have been damaged by our Labradors. First sieve the soil to get out any stones or plant debris that might damage your lawn. Then add some store bought compost to the soil and mix well. Using a trowel wander round your lawn spreading a light dusting of the mixture onto the damaged and bare areas’ then using a stiff broom sweep it into the lawn and between the blades of grass to ensure you don’t cover over healthy grass areas. Do not roller this or tramp the soil down as this will only create potential mud areas on your lawn; just leave it a few days and it will eventually all blend in and give your grass a chance to colonise the new areas.
🌻 Feed your plants and kill weeds: By now you should be feeding your plants weekly, especially those in pots. I use liquid feed mainly, but I also sprinkle the blue granulated stuff on the borders at this time of the year as a “once a year feed”. I have already treated broad leaf weeds on my lawn, but it is now time for a second and final treatment to make sure they are all gone for the summer with no chance of seeding.