Derry City & Strabane - Gardening




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Grow It

Our horticulturalist Johnny's top tips on how to grow fruit and veg at home. Tune into our Facebook  for tutorials.

'Pallet to Planter: our step by step guide



Green fingers

Council’s Horticulturalist Johnny Mitchell has a few tips for you gardening enthusiasts as we spring into Spring. Now the slower winter months have passed there is lots to be done outside. Check out March sowing and growing tasks:

Around the garden

  • Fertilise your beds. Once your soil is workable, dig a 5cm (or more) layer of compost or well-rotted manure into your beds to prepare for the growing season ahead. You can also work in a general-purpose fertiliser, such as pelleted chicken manure, or fish, blood and bone.
  • Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a slow-release fertiliser by lightly forking it into the soil surface.
  • Feed roses with special rose feed or balanced fertiliser as they come into growth.
  • Finish cutting back dead foliage from perennials and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth.
  • Keep an eye out for slugs as the weather warms. Pay special attention to soft, new growth, which slugs love. Use nematodes for an effective organic control.

In the vegetable garden

  • Dig compost, well-rotted manure or green waste into your vegetable beds to prepare for the growing season ahead. Dig in a 5cm (or more) layer when the soil becomes workable.
  • Weed vegetable seed beds.
  • Cover prepared soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for planting.
  • Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground to stimulate new canes, which will fruit in the autumn.
  • Mulch fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost. Take care not to mound mulch up around tree trunks.
  • Cover strawberries with a cloche to encourage earlier fruiting.
  • Mulch rhubarb with a thick layer of well-rotted manure to keep it healthy and reduce moisture loss through the soil. Take care not to cover the crown.
  • Ventilate greenhouses and cold frames on warm days.