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WAHGA Jobs for April

Wet, wet, wet is how I would describe March! The spring bulbs have been and are still fabulous, the fruit tree blossom and magnolia are already putting on a good show.  Now is the time for seed sowing and planting.   Make the most of any dry spells - the forecast is still for rain in early April.   Temperature wise it’s been a mild winter, but watch the weather as there may still be some frosts, be ready to protect any young  seedlings, and wait to plant out your runner beans and courgettes! 


Weeds are already growing well with all this rain, so remove any perennial weeds by digging out the roots, and hoe any annual weeds.  Layer on 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   

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.  Freshly mown grass is a great way to heat up a compost heap.  Use 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, slow worms and hibernating insects as you go!


Early potatoes can be planted now, followed quickly by second earlies.   The main crop should be planted 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 and garlic bulbs; choose a sunny site with good drainage so that they don’t get drowned in the rain.

Plant asparagus crowns in beds already prepared.  Though it will be a patient 2 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 

Sow aubergine and red pepper seeds now, they take a long time to fruit in typical English conditions, so the earlier you sow the better. 

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 - sow 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 as carrot flies will not be able to reach the plants.   Radish, spring onions and beetroot do well in the ground or large pots.

Parsnips can be sown now, though they can be 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 cover your seedlings if you can.


Check broad beans for the first broods of aphids; prick out the tips of tall plants as the hatchlings can only eat new growth.  But look out for ladybirds as they are coming out of hibernation and laying broods of hungry aphid eating larvae.    Don’t be tempted to use insecticides as this will kill beneficial insects and bugs as well.  Aphids are also the perfect food for many bird hatchlings so encourage nesting birds with bird boxes and safe nesting spots.

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

Get rid of slug hidey-holes with a good tidy up of “stuff” - pots, old compost bags, this helps to limit numbers as they have nowhere to hide.  Try a beer trap, and another option is using nematodes - have a look on-line.  Nematodes work particularly well in an enclosed  garden.  There are some beneficial slugs, such as the leopard slug, which only eat dead matter, these are essential in nature for helping the composting process. 


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,  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!

Wildlife Aid is a charity in Leatherhead which provides a rescue and treatment service for wildlife.  They will give advice on any wildlife in distress, so do seek their help if needed.   Their number is 01372 360404 and website

Leave water dishes out for the bees and the birds. Baby birds cannot digest whole peanuts, so 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 as rhubarb flowers rob the plant of energy and you’ll get a poorer crop.   

Asparagus will also be coming through in April, make sure you cut the early spears to encourage more to come through.


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.  

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.  Is the last chance to prune hydrangea.


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