Garden News 30 April 2022 What to do in the garden this week?
Sow herbs indoors and outside
It is a great feeling to grow what you eat and eat what you grow and it can save you money too. Supermarket herbs often come wrapped in plastic and quickly add up so help the planet and your pocket by growing your own herbs from seed.
Herbs are delicious eaten fresh from the stem so sow and grow seed, indoors and outdoors and have herbs at your fingers tips, all year round to add aromatic flavours to your dishes.
Annual herbs like coriander, basil, curly and flat leafed parsley, dill and peppery rocket are all easy to sow and grow indoors.
For indoor sowings, place a mix of peat-free compost and Perlite or Vermiculite in a seed tray or pot, damp down and thinly sow seed across soil surface. Lightly sieve a thin compost layer over seeds and place in a light, warm room or propagator to germinate. Water from the base to prevent damping off.
Once frost-risk has passed sow herb seeds directly outdoors in pots or the ground. Create your own kitchen garden with herb patio pots, a raised bed or trough. The great thing about growing herbs in pots is they are portable so you can move them, inside or out. Herbs love sun so make sure they get six hours a day to thrive.
Tip 1 Select herbs you want to eat. Make successional sowings, little and often to have a consistent crop to harvest.
Tip 2 Herbs thrive on a windowsill, requiring little space or maintenance; ideal if you live in a flat or short on outdoor space.
Tip 3 Herbs look great in terracotta pots. Terracotta is porous, ideal for Mediterranean herbs which do not like soggy roots.
Tip 4 Grow your own herb garden outside. Sow seeds in a Belfast sink in spring for a culinary herb collection.
Protect plants from slugs and snails
As new shoots emerge so do slugs and snails. It’s sad to see prized plants chomped to the ground after so much care has gone into raising them. Try chemical-free methods to deter molluscs from feasting on foliage!
Make homemade garlic spray; this strong scented solution protects and nourishes plants. Chop up a head of garlic with a litre of water, seep for 12 hours, strain and pour into a recycled spray bottle. Store in the fridge for two weeks. Spray plants regularly. Alternatively use a cloche, apply a circle of plant-based slug and snail barrier or egg shells around plants.
Prune hardy fuchsia
Prune hardy fuchsia in spring once the risk of frost has passed. Fuchsia’s flower on new wood so chop off all the straggly old stems back down to emerging nodes, this will stimulate new growth and will soon have your fuchsia springing back to life.
Use a clean pair of sharp secateurs or loppers for large stems. This will invigorate the shrub and ensure you have a summer of vibrant blooms. Mulch and feed for a nutritional boost. Fuchsia are low maintenance and this annual prune is pretty much all the attention they require. Sit back and enjoy the display.
All photos © Debi Holland 2022