It’s time to get your mower out and start mowing for a quality lawn, and for harvesting the last of the winter leeks with Martin Fish - garden writer, broadcaster and advisor.
It’s once again that time of the year when the lawn mower needs bringing out of the shed to start another season of mowing.
Hopefully, you will already have checked over your mower or had it serviced so that it is ready to go!
I know it is tempting to delay the start of mowing for as long as possible, but the sooner you do start the better it is for the lawn and the easier it is for you.
At the moment the grass is just starting to make new growth as the days lengthen and the average temperatures warm up so it is fairly easy to top this new growth before it gets too long.
If left for a few more weeks the grass will be thick and long and require much more effort to cut it.
Before embarking on the first cut of the season walk over the lawn to pick off any branches or stones that could damage the mower.
Choose a dry day when the grass isn’t wet and set the blades on high so that as you mow you are trimming off the tops of the new growth.
This instantly makes the whole lawn look much neater, but more importantly this topping encourages new grass shoots lower down the plant to grow which in turn will help to create a thick covering of grass.
If your mower has a roller on it so much the better as the rolling process lightly firms the soil surface, but also bends the grass over, again encouraging new growth.
Do not at this stage of the season mow the grass too short as it can be a bit of a shock to the system!
Little and often is definitely the order of the day. Traditionally, the first cut of the season was always done with a rotary mower to remove the tufty growth of grass after winter, but if you only have a cylinder mower that’s fine.
Just make sure the grass is as dry as possible and set the blades high.
After the first cut, you probably won’t have to mow again for a couple of weeks but as the soil temperature does warm up the grass will start growing faster.
Over the next couple of trims, you can gradually lower the height of cut until the lawn is at your desired length.
All you have to do then is mow regularly through the spring and summer to keep your lawn looking good.
For some people mowing may be a chore, but a well-mown lawn really does set off the rest of the garden so the effort is well worth it.
Leeks are a good vegetable to grow because they are fairly easy to cultivate, have a long cropping season and can be cooked in many different ways.
I normally sow my leek seed for the forthcoming season at the beginning of April, but before then I need to finish lifting the crop that is already in the garden.
These were planted into the vegetable plot in June, from an April sowing in plug trays. We started to lift the first leeks in October and have had a steady supply all through the winter months.
There are many different varieties of leek that can be grown and by growing a couple of varieties such as ‘Musselburgh’ or ‘Prizetaker’ it is possible to have fresh leeks from September through until late March.
In my garden I now need to dig over the plot for another crop, so the last of the leeks are being lifted and will be turned into leek and potato soup.