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Gerty’s guide to giving your garden a spring clean

Posted by Gerty the Garden Gnome, on May 2, 2022.

Gerty cleaning up garden

The dark and gloomy days of winter are long behind us and if you’re a gardener you will probably be outside getting your garden ready as soon as the sun is out. Spring is the best time to start cleaning away fallen branches and start preparing for the new season ahead. It’s time to dust off and get your garden summer-ready!

Clean the garden furniture

In order to get your garden ready to relax in for you and your guests, you will need to start cleaning off mould, dirt and grime from your garden furniture. Here are some tips for different materials:

Wood

  • Wooden furniture can be left outdoors all year round but remember to protect it from the elements by treating the wood if it hasn’t already been.
  • Use a rough bristle brush to clean off the excess dirt and dust that has built up
  • After rinsing off the wood, you can remove any weathered areas by sanding them down and repainting.

Plastic

  • Plastic can discolour and damage easily in the wind, so it is best to keep your furniture covered with a sheet or stored in a shed.
  • You can clean your plastic furniture easily, by simply using a bucket of warm soapy water
  • Ensure to avoid using any abrasive sponges, as this may scratch and damage the plastic.

Metal

  • A common problem with metal furniture is rust. You can tackle the rust by sanding it off and touching up the damaged areas with some rust-resistant paint. To prevent rust throughout the wet winter months, it’s best to keep metal furniture covered during rainy seasons
  • Hose down the furniture to remove dirt, cobwebs and dust. You may need to use a hard brush to remove any extra tough dirt.

Tackle weeds

With the warming temperatures and classic April showers, Spring is the best time to start pulling weeds. It’s always best to do this by hand as weedkiller contains harsh chemicals that are bad for the environment. Using a hoe to loosen the soil around the weed may also make it easier to remove. Dig out weeds completely by hand, including the roots. If you leave even a tiny part of the root behind, it will re-grow. The endless battle against weeds in our gardens leads us to our next spring task of Mulching.

Mulch, mulch and mulch

One of the best ways you can suppress weeds is by laying down a carpet of mulch around your beds and borders. Mulch benefits plants by keeping the soil cool and moist and depriving weeds of light. Organic mulches, in particular, can actually host crickets and carabid beetles, which seek out and eat weed seeds.

Types Of Mulch:

  • Organic mulches include former living materials such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles and even paper.
  • Inorganic mulches include black plastic and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).

There are two rules for using mulch to combat weeds. First, lay the mulch down on soil that is already weeded, and second, lay down a thick enough layer to discourage new weeds from coming up through it. A four-inch layer of mulch will discourage weeds, although a two-inch layer is usually enough in shady spots.

Prune and tidy

Pruning to remove damaged, dead or diseased parts can be done at any time of the year. Most trees and shrubs, especially those that flower on the current season’s new growth should be pruned in late winter or early spring before the onset of new growth.

Keep your garden and bedding flowers looking fresh and bright by ‘dead heading’ this is snipping away old flowers to make way for new growth. It’s too late to prune roses, so make sure you do your research before you get the scissors out. Fruit trees are already in blossom too, so wait until Autumn before pruning those.

Take care when moving piles of leaves into the compost or green waste bin. Hedgehogs and other garden creatures could’ve set up home in there over the winter!

Feed and fertilise

Now is the perfect time to feed your garden plants to get them ready for the summer. After a long and wet winter, lots of nutrients get washed away so they will be in need of a feed. Feed roses, borders, hedges, trees, shrubs and spring bulbs with an organic general-purpose fertiliser.

It’s a good time to feed early spring bulbs too after flowering. Wait for six weeks after the flowers of spring bulbs are over before cutting the foliage down and feeding for a strong display next year.

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