SPRING AND EASTER WITH UDKANSK
Text & Photo: Frederik & Nanna v./ Udkansk
Spring has arrived! Can you feel it? The garden gloves and working clothes are back in season. The increasingly sunny days and milder weather speed up everything related to plants, and sometimes I even feel like I can hear the plants grow.
April is certainly a busy gardening month, but don't forget to sit down and feel the heat from the sun on your face. Sitting in a sunny spot and realizing how nature is waking up from its slumber is nothing less than amazing. To feel connected to the pulse of the seasons is one of the greatest privileges of having a garden.
April has a long to-do list, both in the garden and inside the greenhouse, where things are in full swing.
We always start the season by removing weeds that unfortunately come with the garden. Weeds can be really beautiful, and we allow all kinds of cornfield weeds in our wild beds. However, in our herbaceous border, we do not want any weeds.
Annual cornfield weeds are easy to remove at this time because, as small plants, they have only small roots. Save yourself a ton of work by removing them now. It is wise to remove perennial plants like ground elder, couch grass, and dandelions now, so the herbaceous plants have a chance to grow taller and block the light, and thereby limit the access to sunlight for weeds closer to the ground.
Another good way to minimize weeds is to plant plants closely together. If you don't know this trick, imagine this: in untouched nature, there is no such thing as a naked spot. The fight for a good growth spot is everything in the plant kingdom, and therefore, a naked spot is a direct invitation to weeds. The trick is, therefore, to imitate nature and plant closely together! Have you ever looked at the roadside or a well-kept lawn? The plants are right next to each other, making it really hard for newcomers to get a footing. The same strategy needs to be implemented in our garden beds. It's all about turning off the light to cut off all the weeds' necessary conditions for survival.
A third thing to do is to use a thick layer of compost after the bed has been well weeded through. The compost is placed on the soil in a 2–3-inch layer, which will help minimize the weeds' opportunity to sprout up and catch the light.
The struggle against perennial cornfield plants is a little bit more challenging, but it is all about exhausting the plants. A way to do this is to remove as many of the underground roots as possible and then block the light by using the above-mentioned methods. All plants need light, so by continually removing or blocking potential new shoots' possibility for photosynthesis, the plant will eventually weaken and die.
It is time to remove the winter crops from the kitchen garden. In our case, all we have left is kale, palm kale, carrots, and beets. It is time to make room for all the new things because it is almost time to start sowing the first things. This could, for example, be carrots, spinach, lettuce, spring onion, and parsley. Or onions like red onion or shallots. April is also the month to lay the first early seed potatoes.
April is also a good time if you wish to plant berry-bearing shrubs or fruit trees. Don't forget to water, as spring can be a little dry.
The roses in our flower garden need to be cut. Ground cover roses, floribunda roses, and big blooming roses should be cut down to a height of 11-15 inches. Cut off withered, damaged, and disease-hit branches, and then cut across one of the shoots turning away from the centre of the rose. This gives the prettiest and most harmonious growth. After the rose has been cut, it is important to give them a generous amount of fertilizer.
All plants in the garden could use a good dose of fertilizer in April, if you haven't already done it.
Activities in the greenhouse.
At the moment, our greenhouse is filled with seed trays of various summer flowers, herbaceous plants, dahlia roots, kitchen herbs, and much more.
The extra heat during the day causes the plants to develop much faster inside the greenhouse than outside in the garden. We used to pre-sprout in our windowsill before we got our greenhouse, often resulting in long, stretched, and weak little plants because of the imbalance between temperature and light. The greenhouse, on the other hand, provides optimal pre-sprouting growth conditions, as long as you keep the night frost away.
Our greenhouse gets quite chilly at night, so it is important to keep the temperature difference between night and day at a minimum. A temperature difference of 20-30 degrees Celsius will stress out the plants. Therefore, open up the doors to the greenhouse to prevent it from getting too hot on sunny days.
Easter in the Greenhouse:
April is the month of one of our favourite traditions - Easter.
One of our traditions includes a competition: who makes the prettiest Easter decoration? The prize is a bag of chocolate eggs, and although neither of us is very good at floral decorations, the competition is ruthless.
Frederik's decoration is made in a low and wide pot filled with soil. It is decorated with little branches and corkscrew hazel. He planted wonderful spring flowers: bellflower, forget-me-not, and grape hyacinth.
Nanna's decoration is made without a pot and is therefore a little harder to make, but we think the appearance is worth it. With the help of steel wire, she made rings of small branches in different sizes, creating a sort of bird's nest. The inside of the bird's nest is covered in a layer of moss followed by a little potting soil. Nanna has planted lovely daffodils in the middle of the bird's nest. The decoration also includes cones, corkscrew hazel, and ivy.
Besides our Easter decorations, we also decorated Easter eggs. That means, we emptied the eggs by blowing out the inside of the eggs through a really small needle hole. Thereafter, we painted the eggs - a traditional Danish Easter activity. It's a really cosy activity that we think decorates the greenhouse quite nicely. Moreover, we held a little Easter ceremony where we painted some eggs with dreams and wishes for the future year until Easter. We buried the eggs in the corner of our garden by the side of the greenhouse. Now only time will tell if the wishing eggs hatch wishes and dreams, but no matter what, it was a great time.
We wish you all a lovely April - and a wonderful Easter.
Nanna & Frederik
Om Udkansk v/ Nanna & Frederik
Nanna and Frederik are a couple living in Northern Denmark. They post content about plants, nature and garden on their Instagram profile ‘Udkansk’. Furthermore, they are ambassadors for the Greenhouse Forum where they share their garden life and experiences in their Juliana Grand Oase greenhouse.Get to know Udkansk v/ Nanna & Frederik
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