Tips

Easter gardening

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Eater Gardening

If you can’t face the traffic and have decided to spend Easter at home, it gives you the perfect opportunity to get out into the garden. You can spend some time working off the kilojoules piled on by those Easter eggs or, better still, forgo the eggs and plant spring bulbs instead.

Bulbs instead of Easter eggs

Bulbs look a bit like Easter eggs – well they’re brown and some of them are vaguely egg-shaped – and there’s a wide choice available for autumn planting.

Daffodils are perennial favourites. Choose a position that gets at least half a day’s sun. Dig in some Dynamic Lifter pellets before planting and sprinkle some Nutricote on top of the soil after planting. In cooler climates you can leave the daffodils in the same spot for a number of years, but don’t forget to start feeding them again after they’ve finished flowering. The best way to do this is by watering every couple of weeks with some Thrive All Purpose or Nitrosol. After flowering, the bulb does all the hard work of building up reserves for next year, which is why this is such a vital time to fertilise.

Jonquils look a bit like mini daffodils but they’ll grow in a much wider range of climates. They’re a better choice for leaving in the ground from year to year as they’ll re-flower reliably each winter or spring.

Hyacinths can be grown indoors in pots or hyacinth vases, but remember to keep them in a dark place (or cover the top of the pot) until the shoot has emerged. Then gradually bring them into the light. This will help them to develop strong stems.

Tulips are happiest in very cold areas. If you don’t get a cold winter, put your tulip bulbs into the fridge (not the freezer) for a few weeks before planting. Then plant them fairly late (towards the end of May) and enjoy the flower show when it arrives. After that, the simplest thing is to remove the plants and compost them. In cold areas, of course, tulips will be right at home and will last for many years.

Grow an Easter basket

Instead of munching on a basket filled with fattening temptations, why not save your waistline and instead grow a hanging basket filled with cheery flowers or healthy herbs?

The biggest problem faced by growers of hanging baskets is that the baskets are always in danger of drying out. Hence it’s vital to do everything you can to prevent this. Choosing a basket that holds moisture is a good place to start. Hanging baskets made from moulded plastic reduce the problem of water evaporating from the sides. But if you prefer the look of hanging baskets with fibre liners, you can cut down on water loss by lining the sides with some sheet plastic. Poke a few holes in the base for drainage, fil with mix, plant up and then trim any plastic that’s still showing.

For baskets, choose a top quality potting mix, like Yates Premium. Mix in some extra Yates Waterwise Water-Storing Crystals for added moisture retention.

When it comes to the fun planting time, choose plants that have a naturally trailing habit such as nasturtiums, lobelias violas, mint and thyme.



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