The Vegetable Growing Year: Jobs to do in April

Spring is here, the soil is starting to warm up and by now your seedlings should start popping up. However it is important to keep an eye on the weather as cold snaps in April are not unknown.

Weeds will also take this opportunity to take over, so keep the hoe going. Simply slide your hoe back and forth under the soil to kill and stop the weeds taking hold. Also remember to sharpen your hoe to make things easier.

If you’re using cloches, it’s important to give the plants in them some air. Open the lid on warm sunny days but make sure you close them at night. Weeds will love the warm conditions inside, so remove them regularly and also check for pests.

Hardening off
For seedlings raised under cover, it is important to acclimatise them to the outdoors. This can be done over a period of around two weeks. Simply place them outside and a warm shelter position for a few hours. Increase the amount of time they spend outside each day until they only need protection on cold nights.

What to sow
If the weather was poor in March, April gives you a chance to catch up on your sowing. Here’s a few things you can sow in April:

  • Potatoes are traditionally planted around Easter time. However if the soil is warm, it can be done earlier.
  • Keep making regular sowings of lettuce and salad leaves for a continuous supply throughout the summer. Same goes for radish, spring onion, beetroot, turnips and chards.
  • Another sowing of broad beans can go into the ground or if you prefer, into pots to be planted out later.
  • You still have time to make some sowings of tomatoes, peppers and chillies.
  • Onion sets and shallots can be planted into the ground. Shallots require a long growing season so get them in the ground as soon as.

What you can eat now

  • Early salad crops, such as lettuce, spring onions or radish if grown under cover.
  • Late sprouting broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower should still be giving you a harvest.
  • If you planted some early potatoes under cover back in January, they should be ready to lift.

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