Spread fish, blood and bone around whatever is planted in the garden at about four ounces per square yard. This provides phosphates for a good root system.
When planting brassicas (cabbages, etc) cut a collar four inches square using old carpet underlay or cabin felt. Make a cut half way across the collar and place it tight around the stem of the plant and this will prevent the cabbage root fly from laying eggs.
Without protection from a collar the fly lays its eggs around the stem and these turn into maggots and eat away at the roots rendering the plant useless.
Now into May let’s hope we have seen the last of the night frosts. More than a few degrees lower than average at this time of year can do untold damage.
I have seen the young leaves on oak and sycamore trees completely browned by frost and looking like they had been burned.
No matter how warm the weather is in early May it would be unwise to get carried away and plant out tender vegetables and other plants too early. The most important job in May is to harden off all the bedding plants ready for planting out at the end of the month and it’s best to do this job in the late afternoon or evening.
Roses now need a regular spraying programme and for this it’s best to use Rose Clear 3. It is a systemic which means it enters the plant’s sap stream and fights diseases from within the plant.
Fruit bushes are racing ahead now and raspberries need attention.
Raspberries, like strawberries, need little nitrogen so a general fertiliser is not necessary. They need a good, deep mulch of rotted manure and then a dressing of sulphate of potash at about 10 ounces per square yard.
Pears are subject to much the same diseases as apples, but even though the spraying programme is the same, pears flower earlier than apples so that the bud and blossom stages occur a little earlier.
Just a reminder of the mixture to spray – there are two chemicals, permethrin and the fungicide triforine. If using bottles of each chemical, if they are produced by the same manufacturer they can be mixed to cut down the spraying. Always read the labels carefully before mixing.
Once primulas have finished flowering dig them up and split them then replant in a sheltered spot. They are good plants to replant in borders for next spring. Also sprinkle a general fertiliser around them.