GARDENING: Jobs for the weekend

This weekend is a good time to sow seeds such as broad beans.
This weekend is a good time to sow seeds such as broad beans.

THE weather is meant to be positively spring-like this weekend, so here’s a list of jobs you could tackle in the garden.

• Plant strawberry runners in hanging baskets to grow in the greenhouse for an early summer crop.

• Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that have become too large or are flowering poorly. Divide hostas before they come into leaf.

• Repot established Agapanthus into slightly larger containers. Plant begonia and gloxinia tubers in pots.

• Prune out old stems of elder (Sambucus) to promote new growth from the base.

• Plant summer-flowering bulbs, such as such as Gladioli, Tigridia, Galtonia, Eucomis, Anemone, lily and Acidanthera. Prepare the soil first, to ensure that drainage is sufficient to prevent the bulbs rotting.

• Propagate dahlias from tubers. Pot them up in multipurpose compost so that the old stalk is just above the surface. Water and place in a warm, light position or in a propagator. Once the fresh shoots have grown to 7.5-10cm (3-4in), cut them off with a knife. Dust the ends with hormone rooting power and push them into a pot containing cuttings compost. Place back in a propagator or plastic bag until roots appear.

• Mulching with a deep layer of organic matter helps to condition the soil, suppress weed growth, insulate plant roots from temperature fluctuations, and conserves soil moisture during summer.

• Feed borders with a general-purpose fertiliser, such as Growmore.

• Roses will benefit from feeding with a granular rose fertiliser as they come into growth. Finish pruning established bush and standard roses as they start growing but before any leaves unfurl.

• Mow the grass if the lawn shows signs of growth. Ensure the first cut of the season is light, raising the blades 0.5cm (0.25in) higher than the usual cutting height. Newly-turfed areas can be mown with the blades set to the highest setting, as soon as the grass reaches 5cm (2in) in height.

• Mulch raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and lingonberries with well-rotted farmyard manure (not mushroom compost as it is too alkaline).

• Untie canes of blackberries and hybrid berries that have been bundled together for winter, and train into arches before the buds burst.

• Feed crops that have been standing all winter, such as kale or chard.

• Start preparing runner bean supports and trenches for sowing (in May) or planting out (in June).