April: Miles Ferrante

Easter is fast approaching and the days are longer and starting to get warmer, so it’s time to really get going on your plot. Last year this time we had floods so it was hard to sow direct into the soil, but this year the ground is still wet and cold but better.

One of the secrets of a successful vegetable gardener is to plant seeds at the right time, if you miss that window of opportunity your veg will be smaller and fewer than they would be if you planted them at the right time.

It’s also important that you feed your plants and the soil to get the best possible results.

SOW

  • Asparagus:  Sow seeds now and you will be picking spears in 3 years, seems like a long wait but well worth it.
  • Beetroot:  Sow direct into the soil under cloches, or I have started to sow mine in modules and plant them out later, you can then space them out in the ground evenly and you don’t have to spend time thinning them out! Bolthardy is a tried and tested variety.
  • Broad beans:  Direct into soil or into pots. For sale at the allotment shop.
  • Cabbage:  Summer cabbages can still be sown, plus start sowing winter cabbages at the end of the month.  Better to sow into modules rather than direct into the ground where the slugs will eat them.  Golden Acre for summer cabbages, Tundra for winter cabbages.
  • Carrots:  Can be sown direct into soil or into tubs.  If you sow them into tubs and raise them at least 3 foot from the ground you should avoid carrot fly damage.  Try yellow, red and purple varieties that are hard to find in the supermarkets.
  • Chard:  Into modules or direct into the soil.
  • Courgettes:  Sow into pots.  These cannot be planted out until June so best sown late April / early May.  Parthenon is a good variety because its self-pollinating.  Defender is a good disease resistant variety.
  • French Beans:  In pots at the end of the month.
  • Leeks:  Musselburgh seeds are on sale at the allotment shop. Try sowing at different times, this will help alleviate leek moth damage.
  • Parsnips:  Direct into the soil or in tubs of sieved compost mixed with sand. It’s a nightmare trying to clean parsnips that have forked, with this method they come out straight and clean.  Tender and True and Hollow Crown are two old varieties that work.
  • Peas:  Sow direct into the soil or into pots.  You may need to net these as the pigeons may snack on them.  For sale at allotment shop.
  • Radishes:  Sow direct or in pots.
  • Runner Beans:  In pots (slugs usually eat the tops off seeds sown direct into soil) or direct at the end of the month.  These shouldn’t be planted out before June unless you are using a cloche to start them off.  White Lady is a good variety. Also try Firestorm which is a runner bean/French bean hybrid so self-pollinating.
  • Spinach:  Direct into the ground.  A great cut and come again leafy vegetable.
  • Spring Onions:  Direct into the soil, try white Lisbon.
  • Sweetcorn:  In pots at the end of the month. Swift is a fantastic variety to try.
  • Tomatoes:  Sow into trays or modules.  Try Golden sunrise, Rosella, Bombonera for something different.  I find Red Alert is brilliant for outdoors and Cristal for indoors.
  • Turnips:  Direct into ground.
  • Winter Brassicas:  Brussel sprouts, kale, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers and purple sprouting can be sown direct or in pots at the end of the month for an early crop.