Spruce up your garden for spring
Spending time outdoors is a crucial part of wellbeing. HLN has teamed up with Flymo and the Skinny Gardener, Lee Connelly, to help you get your garden spring-ready and keep the kids entertained too.
By Helen Bowman
March and April herald the start of the lawn mowing season, but that’s not the only area of your winter-battered garden that might need attention. Why not use our enforced time at home to make a start on some of the jobs that need doing at this time of year?
Check your tools
The first thing you need to consider at this time of year is tool maintenance. It’s essential to check that gardening equipment hasn’t been affected by the winter cold, and that all your tools still in a good, working condition. Whether this means checking that your lawnmower blade is sharp for the season ahead or making sure that you have enough trimming line in your grass trimmer, it’ll give you a head start.
Look after your greenery
The weather can still be unpredictable throughout March and into April, and despite the temperatures rising ever so slightly, it’s important to continue to insulate and protect your shrubs and small bushes roots from freezing conditions. Applying a generous amount of mulch should do the trick.
Clean out the greenhouse
This is the perfect time of year to tidy and clean up your greenhouse ahead of the growing season. Use warm soapy water to clean the windows inside and out and remove any algae from the base and structure. Don’t forget to clean all your planters and pots, too.
Get ahead of the game and start/continue a compost heap
Your garden will require fertiliser and nutrients throughout the year, so starting a compost heap early will ensure you have a supply on hand to use when you need it. If you’re a gardening novice, the good news is that starting a compost heap requires no technical skill. It can be made from almost anything and simply calls for a shaded, grassy and dry spot. The key to creating a good compost heap is to layer the waste and ensure an equal mix of green and brown material including fallen leaves, dead flowers, paper, tree branches, and vegetable peelings.
Put an end to the weeds
Get ahead of the weed-game by pulling up the unsightly plants in your garden by their roots as soon as possible. This will avoid them growing and spreading. To eliminate problem weed, lay enough weed killer to ensure that they don’t appear again – the instructions will tell you the best approach. It’s best to avoid applying weed killer if it is forecast to rain as it will dilute the solution and affect the application.
Take stock and sow your seeds
If you haven’t already, this is the time to plan and purchase all the seeds you need for the year ahead. It’s essential to check the seed packets to avoid missing the perfect weather conditions as many varieties of vegetables require March planting. Why not take the opportunity to grow your own salad, vegetables and herbs? Even if you don’t have enough space for a vegetable garden, many varieties can be grown successfully in pots and planters.
And with the kids being off school for the next few weeks, spring is the perfect time to get them outside and involved with gardening. You’ll have fresh air and science covered in one fell swoop!
According to Flymo Ambassador Lee Connelly, aka The Skinny Gardener, it’s the perfect time to get the kids and family out in the garden. “Get those hands muddy and create incredible memories together, outside, gardening,” he said.
“Starting children’s gardening adventures couldn’t be easier, and really doesn’t have to be expensive. Plus, I believe, no matter how big or small your garden is, we can all get gardening.”
Here are Lee’s top three ways to get the kids involved in the garden, during isolation.
Grow your own
Watching the tiniest of seeds grow into an actual plant that you can harvest food from is where the real magic of gardening is at. Growing your own food is not only magical, it’s a great way to get children eating and finding out where their veg comes from. If they take the time to grow it themselves, they’re more likely to tuck in at the dinner table. Start with five seed packets in your first year of growing. Don’t go crazy and try to grow everything. Gardening is all about taking your time. This year grow your top five favourite vegetables that you’ll use in the kitchen. Once you’ve mastered them in the first year, you can move on to more next season.
See the wild side
Wildlife is another great way to get kids out into the garden. Explore the creepy crawlies and animals which are attracted to your garden. Creating a bug hotel is a fantastic way to keep the kids interested in garden residents. Bringing a small pond to the garden attracts frogs – they’re great for the garden and help keep slugs from eating your new veg patch. Why not help our hedgehog numbers, by giving them a home in the garden? Helping them with hedgehog highways between the gardens really helps too. The main thing to get wildlife in the garden is giving them their own space and homes in which to stay.
Have some messy fun
A mud kitchen can be built for as little as £30. It’s the perfect way to get the kids’ hands messy and doubles up as a potting bench to get those seeds growing. Lots of noise and music can be made with old pots, pans and wooden spoons. Finally, a sensory walk is a great way to get from one side of the garden to another by using tyres and different surfaces such as gravel and bark to walk over.