Gardening Tips for Summer
Garden looking a bit scruffy after the winter? Does it need a bit of TLC? Early spring is the perfect time to get back outside and start getting your garden ready, so follow our tips and tricks to get your garden up to scratch for - hopefully! - the warmer months ahead.
1 Clean and Tidy
Now is the time when seedlings are getting established. So remove any dead foliage to give the new plants a chance and generally tidy up your borders and flowerbeds.
Empty pots attract dirt and grime, so clean out any remaining compost then use an old favourite, Jeyes Fluid to get them extra clean before re-planting. It can also be used for a variety of other cleaning tasks outside, including unblocking drains and cleaning gardening tools.
Jeyes fluid 300 ml, £4, 1L, £10.99 and 5L £39.99, Jeyes
You could also try Patio Power by Jeyes for a quick and easy way to clean your greenhouse. Simply mix with water, pour onto the surface, and let Jeyes take care of the rest!
Patio power, Available in 2L and 4L, Jeyes
Cut back your perennials as soon as you see new growth to keep the plant on its seasonal cycle. BUT only prune those plants that will bud on new growth such as dogwood, peony and mint as well as most ferns and grasses. Cutting back the dead stems will bring them out of their dormant stages.
Give these classic secateurs from Gardena from a try and snip away pesky twigs and vines with ease.
Give your trees a good prune back before spring really gets going. When pruning, it is important to remember to keep your shears sharp in order to get a good clean cut. If branches are too thick, use a pruning saw
Be sure to weed while topsoil is still damp to get the weeds out before they get established.
Do not add weeds to your compost because then you'll just be re-feeding the weeds back into your garden!
Remove stubborn weeds without using harmful chemicals and be kind to wildlife. Neudorff's Organic Fast Acting Weedkiller will target unwanted weeds, grasses, moss and algae without harming beneficial insects.
Organic Fast Acting Weedkiller, Neudorff
If you prefer to manually pull them out - try the Fiskars Weed Puller. It makes it so much easier, it's simple to use and you don't have to bend down!
Xact weed puller, £39.99, Fiskars
3 "Plant" Ahead
When it comes to ordering seeds, it is never too early. Whether it's vegetable, fruit or flower seeds - if you are growing things from scratch, now's the time to buy.
Once you have your seeds, increase your chances of success with a heated propagator to germinate seeds earlier.
Vitopod heated propagators, from £112, Greenhouse Sensation
Get your vegetable garden growing in March in order to give it ample time to thrive. For added nutrients, add some compost to the soil. Try Gro-Sure Seed & Cutting Compost for 25 percent more germination.
Westland Gro-Sure fine grade seed & cutting compost, Westland
If you haven't grown anything before or you are short on space, herbs are a good place to start. Either grow from seed, or buy plug plants. Herbs lend themselves well to spring planting because they take a while to germinate. Try starting off with parsley or coriander, direct-sow the seeds a week or two before the last spring frost and space 8 to 10 inches apart. Herbs such as dill and chives need a bit more time and can be directly sown about 5 to 6 weeks after the last spring frost.
Wild Gardener, pre-made seed mixtures, are an easy way to start a herb garden. Simply choose from a range of wild herbs and edible flowers and you will soon be harvesting fresh aromatic herbs straight from your own plot to use in your favourite dishes.
Wild Gardener, Neudorff
Gardening 2.0 - The future of gardening is here! Gardentags, a new social networking app for gardeners, brings gardeners together via a highly active gardening community. Receive planting inspiration and advice, manage your plant collection in one place and get automated plant care tasks. What's not to love about that?
Download GardenTags here
4 Treat Your Lawn
Spring is a great time to re-seed bare patches of lawn. Use Aftercut Patch Fix then add a good lawn feed to give a much-needed boost that will last you into summer.
Aftercut even flo patch fix, Westland
Opt for granular feed to slowly feed your lawn over the summer months, but switch to soluble if you have an outdoor event coming up for faster results.
Scarify your lawn in early spring. It is a natural way to stimulate plant growth and will repair any bare patches too. For small areas, a hand-held scarifying rake will do, but for most gardens, a mechanical scarifier will make the job much easier.
Make sure you edge your lawn along the flowerbeds to get a nice clean edge.
If moss has been an issue, apply Resolva Moss Killer then simply rake the moss out. You can then over-seed to thicken the lawn and fill in any patches.
Resolva moss killer, Westland
As the weather gets dryer, it's a good idea to give the lawn it's first good trim. Robot mowers are so popular now for ease of use and time saving.
Robomow RC model, £1,199, Robomow
If you aren't around to water the lawn regularly, or for when you go on holiday, check out Hozelock's new Cloud Controller and take care of your lawn from anywhere in the world via a smart phone App. Remotely set, pause and adjust watering schedules, check your local weather summary and receive push notifications about your outdoor area. Simple!
Cloud controller, £114.99, Hozelock
5 Prep Your Patio
Give dirty patios and decks a good scrub or blast with a pressure washer to remove moss and dirt, so your outdoor space is party ready!
Try Karcher's new range of high pressure washers, which now provide over 50% water saving compared to a traditional garden hose, while still producing 35 times more power.
High pressure washers, from 219.99, Karcher
Try out self-watering planters to give yourself a break this summer. Lechuza's self-watering planters allow your plants to thrive both indoors and out and ensure exact nourishment for up to 12 weeks. They are really stylish too!
CUBE cottage 30 in white and mocha, £39.99 each, Lechuza
6 Restore, Refurbish & Recycle
For wooden garden furniture, give it some much-needed nourishment with stain, oil, or reinvent it with a few coats of colour. Protek Wood Stain has a great range for all wooden products in lots of lovely colours, to protect your sheds, fences and furniture.
Metal furniture is very low maintenance. In most cases, some hot soapy water will do the trick. You can use a pressure washer for more stubborn stains, but make sure it is on a low setting. After you've finished washing it, polish it with car wax to extend the life of the furniture or paint it using spray paints rustoleum.com. There are lots of colours to choose from and they also have a products to deal with rusty metal.
7 No Maintenance Decking
When it comes to your deck, it is best to think long-term. Trex decking is fade, scratch and stain resistant, earth-friendly and requires little to no maintenance when compared to traditional composite or wood decks.
Trex decking in island mist, Trex
8 New Raised Beds
Easy to use and assemble, WoodBlockX don't need lining like other raised beds, which ensures well-drained soil and healthier plants.
WoodBlocX raised beds, from £79, WoodBlocX
9 Refresh Your Shed
Over a long winter, you tend to stockpile a lot of odd bits, which usually results in a chaotic mess that is in desperate need of order. Throw away anything you don't need, clean the inside of the empty shed and rearrange it for an updated organised look.
Repaint your shed for a fresh new look. Over time, UV rays grey your wood and rainwater can cause it to split and crack. Give Cuprinol Garden Shades or Cuprinol Sprayable Paint a try for a quick and easy revamp.
10 Get The BBQ Ready
Spring is the perfect time to get the grill ready for some summer action. With just a wire brush and bbq cleaner, wipe away that laden grease that's been piling up all winter.
Scotts outdoor cleaner plus Oxiclean, Scotts
If you find your BBQ needs some TLC, spruce it up with B&Q's Matt Stove & BBQ Spray Paint - it's perfect for the job. Simply spray and leave for one hour to dry.
Colours Matt Black Stove & BBQ spray paint (400mL), Exclusively available at B&Q
11 Paint & Treat the Fence
The winter months can damage your garden fence causing splitting, colour fading and general decay. Before summer comes revitalise your fence with one of Cuprinol's Garden Shades or try Farrow & Ball's fun line of outdoor safe colours.
If you're not keen on keeping up with the fence, plant some climbers - they're perfect for covering unsightly old fence panels or walls.
12 Keep the Environment in Mind
Collect, save and re-use rainwater to water your garden with an old-fashioned water butt.
Bring wildlife into your garden with a range of products designed for the purpose. Frog houses, insect hotels and hedgehog houses are all widely available.
Hoglio hedgehog house, £29.99, RSPB
Slugs can be such a problem, ruining all your hard work overnight. Effectively control them without harming the environment by using traditional copper slug rings £19.99 for a pack of 6 from Crocus or copper tape for only £2.99 from Homebase.