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WAHGA Jobs for April

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

Wet and cold March is behind us, and the early April forecast shows some warmer days ahead. It’s lovely to see the fruit tree blossom and bulbs throughout Weybridge. Now it's definitely time to get on with final bed preparation, seed sowing and planting. But as always, watch the weather, and take heed of the warnings of seasoned gardeners. Night frosts are still with us, so be ready to protect any young seedlings, and wait to plant out your runner beans and courgettes!


Remove any perennial weeds, being sure to get the roots out, and hoe any early annuals. On the allotment, weeds to watch include mares tail which appears in the form of asparagus-like spears, dig gently with a fork and try and remove as much of the root system as you can. This will be an annual job, it's about management rather than eradication. Bind weed is another weed which, when you’re digging, appears as thick spaghetti like roots - try and remove these intact and take to the dump or put in your brown bin at home.

Add in plenty of organic matter to enrich the soil, improve the water holding properties and increase aeration. Weybridge has a sandy soil and needs as much organic matter added as you can produce

On the allotment sort out the paths between you and your neighbours. Keep them tidy, clear and strim or mow any long grass. Before long you’ll be up and down with cans of water so a clear, even path is a must have!

Compost, compost compost! Compost all green matter, add foliage, leaves and annual weeds to your compost pile. Turn the pile to help activate it by adding air, and make sure it doesn’t dry out (we wish!). Freshly mown grass is a great way to heat up a compost heap used in layers between drier, woodier matter. Harvest your compost, check your heap and you might be surprised what you can use, watching out for hedgehogs, slowworms and hibernating insects as you go.


Chit and plant seed potatoes. Your earlies can go in now, and aim to get your second earlies in the next week or two. Plant your main crop by the end of April. ‘Earth up’ any emerging shoots with soil if a frost is forecast. Potatoes can also be grown very successfully in containers.

Plant onion/shallot sets & garlic bulbs – try to get these in the ground as soon as possible. Choose a sunny site with good drainage so that they don’t get drowned in the rain over the coming weeks!

Plant asparagus crowns in beds already prepared. Though it will be a patient two year wait before spears can be harvested, the crowns will reward you for 10 years, with little more effort than mulch and weeding.

Fruit plants such as raspberry canes, currant bushes and gooseberries can still be planted now for a crop this year. Any fruit trees should be on dwarf stock unless in your own garden of course!

Sow Indoors/undercover

Sweetcorn, courgette/pumpkin/cucumber family, tender beans such as runner and french, chard, kohlrabi, celeriac, tomatoes can all be sown now under cover and kept in either a greenhouse or sunny windowsill before planting out in May, when risk of frost is over.

Save money by sowing herbs, flowering annuals and herbaceous perennials for the garden. The easiest are also rewarding, such as sweet peas, cosmos and poppies. You can just scatter poppy seeds in the garden - they really are as simple to grow as that.

If you don’t have all round light, make sure you turn the seed trays regularly so they grow upright.

Unless you have space and time, only transplant and pot on the strongest seedlings. This can be done when two true leaves have formed. Hold seedlings gently by a leaf and pot on/transplant straight away.

Direct sow outside

Top Tip - if sowing direct outside spend a bit of time getting the seed bed flat. This ensures that water settles evenly and that seeds don’t wash away or dry out.

Carrots, radish, spring onions, beetroots, turnips can all be planted outside, sown successionally to allow harvesting of young crops through the season.

Carrots need protection from carrot fly, use horticultural fleece to cover the crop. Alternatively grow them in a tall container filled with sieved soil, carrot flies will not be able to reach the plants.

Parsnips can be sown now, though they can be tricky and slow to germinate, it’s best to warm the soil first by covering with a black compost bag or similar, or just to wait a couple more weeks. Allow 3-4 weeks before you give up and sow a second time. Use fresh seed every year, unlike many other seeds, they do not store well.

Sow maincrop peas and make the last sowing of summer broad beans.

Towards the middle of the month start sowing, every two weeks, mange tout, lettuce and other salad leaves.

If a heavy frost is forecast try and lightly cover your seedlings if you can.


Check soft fruit and broad beans for the first broods of aphids; spray the plant with soapy water (diluted washing up liquid), squish the aphids, or wait for the ladybirds! I’ve already seen a lot of ladybirds so hopefully the hungry ladybird larvae will be hatching soon! Don’t be tempted to use insecticides as this will kill beneficial insects and bugs as well.

Protect any early strawberries from birds with netting that is wide enough to allow pollinators in.

Allotments and gardens are very popular with pigeons so good netting for brassicas is essential, otherwise those pesky pigeons will eat the lot! And of course the cabbage white butterfly is another problem so the netting needs to fine grade. Try making homemade hoop tunnels, stick short bamboo stakes either side of the bed, put hosepipe over the top to form the hoops, and then cover with mesh netting, using tent pegs to hold it down. Alternatively, we have a 10% WAHGA discount with - the pop-up netting cages have proved to be very successful on the allotments. Make brassica collars to help prevent cabbage root fly. Cut cardboard into 10cm discs, make a single cut from the edge to the circle and place around brassica stems as soon as they’re planted out.

Tidy up slug hidey-holes and a good tidy up of “stuff” - pots, old compost bags - helps to limit numbers as they have nowhere to hide. Try a beer trap and another, more expensive, option is using nematodes - have a look on-line. This works particularly well in the garden.


Hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation and will be on the hunt for nutritious food to put back the body weight lost over winter. They may still be sleeping in your compost heap so take care when moving any compost or piles of leaves. They will still go back to the hibernating spot on colder days and at night. They can eat tinned dog and kitten pellets but don’t leave milk as they are lactose intolerant (who knew that!) So please leave a shallow dish of water. If you do leave food, just a small amount and ideally in a location where other animals, like foxes, can’t reach it.

We are well into nesting season so watch out for activity in trees and hedges near you and don’t disturb. If you are cutting hedges and trees please remember that it’s illegal to cut anything down where there is evidence of a bird nesting, or nesting activity - and that includes pigeons!

Leave water dishes out for the bees and the birds and as baby birds cannot digest whole peanuts, crush them or put into tight mesh feeders.

Sow a few wild flowers in a section on your plot or garden to encourage pollinators. Try planting asters, camomile, marigolds, oregano, sage, sunflowers, thyme, yarrow and zinnias. The entire Compositae or “daisy” family will attract a number of beneficials including ladybirds.


You may be lucky to still have some broccoli, kale and chard, but the plant of the month is rhubarb! Pull (don't cut) the ripe stalks, compost the leaves. Don't forget to cut any flower stalks off.


If you haven’t done so, find a dry day to do the first cut of your lawn, on a high cut. Feed the lawn, and sow bare patches with seed. I have given up on turf as in most cases it is prepared on a bed of plastic mesh which stays in the lawn, catching the feet and necks of birds and small mammals.

It’s not just the lawn, but the beds and borders that will benefit from a feed. Any slow-release multi-purpose feed will do. And mulching now will help suppress weeds and retain moisture later in the year.

Cut back any herbaceous plants - you should see new growth coming through - and ornamental grasses. It’s also the perfect time to divide herbaceous plants, giving spares away to friends. If you don’t divide the herbaceous plants they eventually spread out from their original spot dying from the middle. It's the last chance to prune hydrangea.

If you have shrubs that have not survived the cold spell dig them up now, enrich the soil with organic matter and start looking for replacements. Shrubs don’t live forever, small ones 3 - 5 years, medium 5 - 15 and larger shrubs up to 30. The popular cordylines, phormium and even fatsia have struggled with the wet and frost so do thing about replacements which are more reliably hardy.

Take photos of your spring bulbs, not to post on Facebook or Instagram, but as a record. In autumn take a look at any gaps in colour and type and use this as the basis for ordering and planting your bulbs for the next season!


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