Enjoy the start of a new season

John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON
John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON

Today (Thursday) is St Patrick’s Day - traditionally the kick off for a new gardening season.

There are a number of gardening jobs which can be done now depending on the weather.

Roses are pruned at this time by cutting out all diseased wood and dead wood and branches growing into the centre of the bush.

Having cleaned up the rose bush select three or four of the strongest branches and cut back to the third or fourth bud from the ground.

The dormant bud should be pointing outwards if possible and can be identified as a red dot and when pruning, always use a good quality sharp pair of secateurs to make a clean cut. Try to get each branch pointing in a different direction.

Clean and rake away any leaves on the ground from last season which may be diseased and kill any weeds either by hoeing or pulling them out by hand.

Deep-rooted weeds can be carefully sprayed with a weed killer which is absorbed through the foliage system and travelling down to the roots. Use Resolva 24H or Roundup but take care not to get onto any foliage of plants.

This spring, pruning may mean cutting of new growth. This is not a problem as it will encourage new growth from closer to the base of the bush. Once pruning and cleaning up is complete give the roses a high potash feed such as Westland Rose Food enriched with horse manure.

Seed potatoes are also traditionally planted on St Patrick’s Day but only if the conditions are good, with a minimum soil temperature of 7C and not too wet. Use a potato fertiliser and plant 15cm down, 45cm between rows and 25cm apart in the row. If the soil is cold and wet delay planting for a few more weeks.