Hayes greenhouse and veg garden
Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas

Lockdown spring gardening jobs

Spring is the time to start the gardening year

As we’re all now mainly confined to home it’s the ideal time to tackle the garden and get all those little jobs done that normally get put to the bottom of the list. That old excuse of having no time no longer applies so now the weather is looking brighter and we have longer light evenings why not make your outdoor space somewhere to have a party once all this mayhem is over. If you’ve always thought that your garden needed a makeover, now’s the time to start. Sourcing building materials for any hard landscaping may be a bit difficult but there are other things you can be getting on with that will make all the difference. A lot of gardening websites are still trading so seeds, plants, compost, propagating equipment and tools are still readily available.

First job is to tidy up perennials by removing all last year’s dead growth, if there are any hollow stems keep them for making a bee hotel. Insert supports for the tall growing perennials such as phlox and delphiniums. If you don’t have any supports go for a walk in the countryside or park, keeping well away from anyone else, and pick up some fallen twiggy branches or if you have any shrubs which can be pruned use these. You can order new supports off the internet but they are more expensive and not nearly as healthy as a walk in the countryside.

Tidy the garden by digging over and mulching the borders, use a dedicated mulch or if you can’t get hold of any use home-made compost or leaf mould. This cuts down on the weeding and helps retain moisture, if there has been a long dry spell water the garden well before mulching.

If you have gaps in the border now is the time to split herbaceous perennials giving you plants for free. If you do have gaps which can’t be filled by herbaceous perennials go online and order your summer flowering bulbs; most internet companies are still trading. If you don’t want the bulbs to be a permanent feature plant them in plastic pots then sink the whole pot into the ground. Once the bulbs have finished you can then just take out the pot and put them out of the way to finish their growth cycle.

Now the spring weather has arrived the lawn has started to grow so give it the first cut of the year, just don’t cut it too short. If you have an informal style garden why not leave the lawn to become a wild flower meadow. Sow seed in single cells and then plant into the lawn when they are large enough, this gives them a better start than they would have if you just sowed them into the lawn. The more vigorous grass would out-compete the seedlings. If you love the look of a bowling green lawn don’t forget the finishing touches, edge the lawn with a sharp edging tool for a nice crisp look. 

As the future of fresh veg supplies could be uncertain now is the time to start growing your own, it can be much easier than you think. Do some research online and see which are the easiest varieties to grow and have a go. Even if you don’t have a garden you can still grow lots of vegs in containers; read the blog ‘What vegetables can I grow in containers and small spaces?’.

Prepare the veg beds ready for the new plants, if you are planning on growing vegs which need a long growing season or you want an early crop place a fleece or polythene cloche over the soil and sow salad leaves for an early crop. 

Go online and order your veg seeds and get them sown, place the seed trays somewhere light and warm to germinate. If you don’t have a frost-free greenhouse you can use a warm, sunny spot indoors such as the kitchen windowsill. Some seeds, such as tomatoes, will need a little extra heat from a heated propagator.

Brush out any old compost from seed trays and pots then wash with a weak solution of bleach or Jeyes Fluid and warm water. While you are doing this also do the greenhouse staging and where the glass panes are inserted into the frames, this is where insect larvae like to overwinter.  

Plan your summer containers then go online and order your bedding plants.

Create a lovely relaxing outdoor space where you can celebrate at the end of the madness. Start by clearing away all the clutter then scrub the floor with a soap and water solution or spray with Algon the get rid of the algae. Get out the garden furniture and give that a wash; if it’s past it’s best, go online and order new furniture.

Barlow Tyrie Monaco dining set
Barlow Tyrie Monaco Set

Drag the barbecue out of the shed and clean it ready for the good weather. If you haven’t been using it over the winter now is a good time to start; not only do you get some fresh air but also great tasting food. Remember it’s not just there for burnt bangers and cremated burgers, almost anything you can cook indoors can be cooked on the BBQ. Do some research and increase your grilling repartee so that you can impress your family and friends and become a true pitmaster. Visit our blog pages and Youtube channel where we have plenty of easy recipe ideas plus tips on the best way to cook on your grill.

Stay safe, enjoy your outdoor space and at the end of the madness you will have created extra living space which you can be proud of and where you can celebrate with family and friends. Once all the work is done sit back with a glass of something, plan the guest list, menu and what you need to decorate your space and hopefully we’ll see you back in store before long.