I regard this time of year as one of the busiest in the gardening season, as everything is raring to go! It’s a busy month for sowing seeds and getting your garden prepared for planting again. On our allotment site in Burton most of the plots are now looking fresh again after being dug or rotovated, ready for the seeds or veg plants to be set.
By the end of April is really the last chance for planting out seed potatoes and also for sowing Tomato seeds, Onion sets and Shallots. I shall be setting out my tray sown Broad Beans, though many folk sow them direct in the soil. Tray grown ones seem to be ready a bit earlier I find. You can also sow outdoors, Carrots and Beetroot and Peas, but protect Peas from pigeons who enjoy ‘nipping off’ the sweet shoots of Peas. Always best to net them over or cover with chicken wire. It also helps to support the long tendrils and add a few tree twigs too for them to cling to. I like growing the ‘Onward’ variety of Peas, as they are quite large ‘marrowfat’ peas and many to a pod. Ideal for freezing too. Peas also like ‘garden lime’, so sprinkle and hoe some in before sowing directly in the soil.
Later this month I shall be starting to sow my Courgettes and Pumpkins in the greenhouse in pots. Always sow the seed with the flat edges vertically with the ‘pointed part’ facing upwards. If you sow them horizontally they can rot off. They need drainage to germinate and grow well. I usually add some ‘perlite’ to the compost to assist drainage in the pots. We grow quite a few pumpkins & squashes, as they store well over winter, invaluable for soups, curries and pies. Not just a novelty item for Halloween!..they contain vital vitamins like Vitamins C, A, B6 and provide calcium, copper, potassium and magnesium, which can help keep your heartbeat regular and blood pressure low. One of the easiest plants to grow too. Their main requirement being water! I give the young plants a general fertiliser and plant them about a metre apart. They spread out a lot so need plenty of space. Water well.
I also sow a few flower seeds too as these will obviously attract the much needed bees to your garden. I like to grow ‘rudbeckia’s’ with their bright yellow petals and black centres, the bees and butterflies love these. They grow to around 60 cms tall. Sow thinly in a small tray and transplant around 15 to a normal sized tray. I also sow Dahlias, large and dwarf types. They are great ‘cut and come again’ flowers. Very underated flowers. ‘Cosmos’ are another good summer flower for the back of a border, various pinks, white and purple shades in a packet. Easy to grow.
So enjoy the great outdoors by growing some fruit and vegetables yourself this year!