April in the Garden
I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep an eye on the weather forecast. If 2018 has taught us anything so far it must be to expect the unexpected! So in April we should be able to say that spring is definitely here but even in the south the occasional frost should be expected and snow is not unknown. More northerly gardens, those at higher elevations, north or easterly facing plots: all these should expect any cold snaps to bite harder and for a while longer yet. When the sun comes out it can feel like summer but don’t be lulled, keep checking and take precautions.
The weeds won’t be slacking, they sense the days are getting longer so you do need to keep on top of them. A bit of relaxed hoeing will slice those weeds off and allow your veggies to get the maximum nutrients without the competition. Its also time to clear any old brassica stems that might still be lurking in your garden.
Easter is the traditional time to get potatoes in the ground – it is a moveable feast so as long as it is around this time of year you will be fine. Later this month you may even have to start earthing up. If you are growing your potatoes in big pots then remember to only part fill when you plant so you can keep adding soil as they grow. This encourages the plants to produce more spuds as they grow towards the light, just leave the top of the plant showing each time you earth up.
There is a huge list of things that you can grow in April (just check out this month’s sowing guide and special offers for inspiration). As the weather warms it’s the first chance to sow squashes and pumpkins – these are best started in pots (kept warm and protected from any frosts) where they can develop good roots ready to plant out in May. Cucumbers and courgettes can also be started this April, again pots are the best choice for sowing so that you can control the watering and warmth in the early stages. Another fab crop is sweetcorn from mid-April and towards the end of the month it will be the turn of runner beans and French beans. These are tender so must be protected from frosts.
If you have been planning to add herbs to your garden then April and May are the best months for sowing the majority of them. April is also your chance to get your flower crop started – lots of choices to enjoy in your garden or cut for a vase and many will please your helpful garden pollinators