What to do now

Timing is everything in gardening — for best results. But there is some leeway. In this section, Garden.ie offers accurate horticultural advice reminders on the main groups of plants under Irish conditions, week after week.

  • Trees, Shrubs and Roses
  • Flowers
  • Lawn
  • Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
  • Greenhouse and House Plants

Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs

  • Early potatoes can be put in to sprout with a little warmth and good light for planting in the coming weeks, depending on the soil conditions.
  • Ground for vegetables should be cleared of weeds and cultivated for sowing the first seeds, as soon as the opportunity arises. Weeds could be removed or killed on vegetable ground.
  • Shallots and garlic can be planted early in dry weather..
  • Sow seeds of early varieties of cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce and onions in a tunnel or glasshouse to get a head-start on the season despite the conditions outdoors.
  • Fruit trees and bushes can be planted now and pruning completed.

 

Greenhouse and House Plants

  • Permanent greenhouse plants that have grown too large can be pruned back in the next few weeks.
  • Grape mildew is a big problem on glasshouse grapevines but the rose sprays are very effective on mildew and these can be applied when the first new leaves appear.
  • Begin regular watering as the plants begin to make new growth. Feeding can begin too but there is still time as growth is still slow.

Lawn

  • Lawn areas should be mown as early as possible in the year if possible. Do not mow too tightly at this stage, a topping is all that is required to keep it looking neat.
  • Lawn edges could be tidied too, using an edging shears or a strimmer.
  • If there is heavy moss growth, a lawn mosskiller can be applied at this stage, with lawn feeding later in spring to boost competitive grass growth.
  • Humps and hollows in a lawn can be removed while the soil is moist and the sods are easily lifted to add or take away soil.

 

Flowers

  • Old flower stems can be tidied away or they can be left on the soil surface as a mulch.
  • The lifting and dividing of over-grown herbaceous flowers can resume as soon as the soil is dry enough.
  • It is a good time to plant new perennial flowers too.
  • Seeds of geraniums, lobelia, busy lizzie and bedding begonias can be sown in a heated propagator.
  • In the next few weeks, the tubers of dahlias, begonias and gloxinias can be started in a greenhouse, or on a windowsill indoors. Set the tubers lightly onto moist compost in a seed tray or small pot.

Trees, Shrubs and Roses

  • Bush roses, and repeat-flowering climbers, should be pruned in the next two weeks, if not already done.
  • Deciduous tree planting can continue if the ground is not too wet.
  • Deciduous trees and shrubs can be moved at this time, if they were planted in the wrong place – even quite large shrubs move well mostly.
  • Gather fallen twigs that may have blown from trees during gales.
  • Hedges that have grown too tall or too wide can be cut back hard to old wood now, but not cypresses as these do not re-sprout.