GARDENING: 12 jobs you can do in the garden this week

With the weather improving, there's a whole host of jobs you can tackle in the garden this week.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 2:17 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2016, 2:21 pm
Climbing rose James Galway.

* As climbing roses send out shoots, pull them down to the horizontal. This will encourage flowering shoots to emerge all along the stem.

* Delay seed sowing in open soil until you can see weeds growing strongly -­ a good sign that things are starting to warm up at last.

* As weeds start to emerge and flourish, hoe regularly to stop them becoming a problem. Remember to check under cloches too. Weeds grow particularly well in the warm conditions. Get to know what vegetable seedlings look like, so you don’t hoe them off by mistake.

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* Dig in overwintered green manures three to four weeks before you want to use the ground. Using a sharp spade, turn the plants back into the soil, chopping them up as you go.

* Pot on dahlia and begonia tubers and pinch out tips of fuchsias and other half­-hardy plants.

* Sow perennials in modules or small pots. Prick out once leaves are large enough to handle. Plant out when well­-established. Some perennials may flower this year, others will take longer.

* Plant up hanging baskets. This gives them plenty of time to bulk up. If you use fuchsias, remember that they prefer shadier conditions, so sit them under the staging out of direct sunlight.

* Pest populations usually start to increase dramatically now. Be vigilant and don’t allow infestations to build up. Use organic treatments, such as insecticidal soap, to control problems until the temperatures are warm enough for biological controls to be introduced.

* Once it’s warm enough, introduce biological controls in the greenhouse. Use the predatory mite Phytoselius to control red spider mite, the tiny wasp Aphidius for aphids and the predatory mite Hypoaspis for control of sciarid fly.

* If your lawn is filled with moss, now’s the time to address the situation, as it's a symptom of an underlying problem. Compaction, too-­close mowing, acid conditions, heavy shade and damp conditions will trigger moss development. Identify the problem, then resolve it.

*Hard­-prune shrubby herbs such as sage, cotton lavender (Santolina), bay and rue. This will encourage vigorous new growth and side­-shoots. Trim old stems from marjoram and savory, if not already done.

* Prune lavender into shape, taking care not to cut into the old wood. Offcuts can be used as softwood cuttings. Old, woody plants are best removed.

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