Spring is the time of year when we look forward to opening the garden shed up in Worthing and delight (??) in getting the garden tools, the lawnmower and other garden tools ready for the warmer days coming. As well as that the garden table and chairs are also given a once over ready for those lovely barbecues which hopefully won’t be far away. It’s the time of year for optimism, normally, as we have a long time before winter come around and the garden shed is left to its own devices again. The joys of spring are the green shoots on the plants, the greenness coming to the lawn, although the water shortage and hose pipe ban won’t help this. What you can do is to utilise your garden shed to help collect the little rain we do get. All you need is some gutters and downpipes and a few angles from your local B&Q, Wickes or Home base and then screw these to your garden shed. With the addition of a water barrel, normally situated at the end of the shed or around the back of the shed you can collect the rain and then use it for watering your plants or vegetables. A very practical and additional use for the wonderful well loved shed.
The downside of the warmer weather is the return of the flying nasty insects which can include flies, dragon flies, may bugs, ants, ladybirds, bees and wasps. Considering there are nearly a millions different species of insects we probably don’t do too bad. Out of these the ones I dislike the most is the wasp which reminds me of a bad tempered traffic warden, or me when Grimsby Town lose, and I can’t see their purpose in life. Normally insects are part of the food chain but I can’t imagine that anything would want to eat a wasp when they may get stung on the inside.
The garden shed and workshop does tend to be home to many nests for these insects so it makes sense to check it out to ensure it’s free from them. If you do find any in your shed, normally under the eaves or in a dry corner, then I think it’s best to get an expert to tackle these nests and remove so it is clear for use again. Provided you don’t leave it too late in the Spring you can be lucky and have a wasp free shed.
As I say we are reasonably lucky that the insect population is not too bad however over in New Zealand residents were being told to be wary about an explosion of wasps in their sheds and their gardens. Norman Kerr, a pest exterminator, said that his company was having trouble keeping up with the demand for garden sheds to be de-wasped as more and more people had been opening up their buildings and finding them infected with wasps. Garden compost heaps and leaf matter were also overrun with these insects. At one stage he was receiving 200 calls per day.
Even worse, Mr Kerr said, was a couple who found their Worthing bedroom had been taken over by hundreds of wasps after a large wasp nest in their roof cracked the ceiling. It’s bad enough in the garden or the shed but indoors – in your bedroom – that’s a truly horrific experience. The reason for this explosion was the mild winter, just like we have had, and that a large number of queen wasps have survived in the dry, cosy garden sheds, and this is one possible reason for this explosion of nasties.
The wasp is, by nature, more aggressive that the bee and has a multi sting capacity that allows it to sting its victim more than once. If stung then a cold compress should be applied to the stings or antihistamine cream or hydrocortisone cream applied to the affected areas and this will help to reduce the swelling and possible pain. Surely this is a good enough reason to ensure that these wasps are evicted from your garden shed before they have an opportunity to expand their numbers.
Spring is probably one of the best seasons of the year in Worthing and the milder weather entices gardeners out into the garden after the long winter, although winters of late have tended to be a lot warmer than 20 or 30 years ago. Even so now is the time to take a look in your garden shed and make plans for the new season. The lawnmower is likely to be needed very soon. I actually cut my lawn 3 weeks ago after the hot weekend. It was not apparent at the time that the grass was very long but after cutting the grass it really showed the difference. Thankfully when I put the lawnmower away before the winter I had cleaned it with the garden hose and sprayed WD40 on it before putting in my shed and this meant I was able to get cutting straight away. The vegetables in the garden is another area to consider. If you have the space you can plant out a large range of different vegetables. If you can plant these out over several weeks this ensure that you have a continuous supply of delicious fresh produce. Not only is this healthy, the exercise will help your general fitness and you will be able to save money as well. So a win-win on many fronts. If you have a surplus of vegetables later in the year you can store these in the garden shed. Just ensure that the shed does not have any holes where mice can get in. Cover the potatoes and other root vegetable to keep the light off them and ideally of the ground.
Tomatoes and strawberries are probably some of the most tasty produce you can grow and strawberries straight from the garden can’t be beaten. They can be grown in pots in the garden or in garden grow bags. Just ensure that they have plenty of water and put in the garden where the sun shines most of the day. In front of the garden shed can be ideally as this radiates the sun’s warmth and can keep the winds off.
This view is backed up by the gardening expert, Dan Pearson, who also says this is the time of year to dig out the trowel from your garden sheds and to get on with your gardening duties. He provides several tips to get the gardening season under way and this will help to ensure that your experience in the garden in an enjoyable and rewarding one.
He says that planting now that Spring is here should be undertaken as soon as possible, although you need to be careful with any spring frosts in Worthing. Bare root and root balled planting should also be undertaken very soon but maybe a few more weeks later in the more exposed areas will be prudent. You could consider utilising your garden shed to give some shelter in these early weeks.
Planting in containers is another clever idea. Being in containers these can be moved and sheltered in the garden shed if the temperature looks like dropping. By ensuring the containers are out in the warm sun as much as possible this will give them the best start to their lives. Just ensure you keep an eye on the weather and move to the shed when it threatens.
The other side to the warmer weather is that it does bring out the garden pests as well. They enjoy the warmth as much as your new garden plants will do so you need to watch out for them to stop them in their tracks. You will find that beetles will hatch out on these sunny Worthing days so you need to keep on top of these pests on an ongoing basis. In most garden sheds you will find a range of treatments to help stop them in their tracks but do ensure that the shed is kept locked to ensure that children can’t gain access to these treatments.
Gardeners who don’t keep treatments in their sheds and prefer to take a more natural organic gardening approach can pick these beetles off every day although most gardeners prefer to take the easier route and to spray them. Besides the above there is a massive amount of gardening tasks to get on with and with the warmer weather can actually be therapeutic.