What to do in the Garden this month

With David Williams

The garden is really starting to come alive now as all the spring bulbs that you planted in the autumn should be a riot of colour in your garden by now.

Like your bulbs however, the weeds will also be starting to grow so you will need to keep an eye out for them starting to grow so that you can get rid of them before they get too big.

With the weather starting to warm up there will be so much to do in the garden this month as everything will start to grow with abundance.

It will be busy in the vegetable garden this month as most crops like to be sown in April. Even your winter crops such as sprouts, kale and sprouting broccoli take many months to grow so you need to get them started now so that you are assured of a good crop. Sow thinly in seed trays or pots of good compost in a greenhouse or cold frame. Once germinated prick out into individual pots and grow on until large enough to plant out.

There are also lots of vegetables that can be sown direct into the soil outside this month, but do check weather conditions prior to sowing as we can still get a frost up until May. Carrots, radish, beetroot, and peas are just some of the vegetables that can be sown. Make a drill with the edge of your rake about 3cm (1”) deep and sow thinly. Rake the soil back over the seeds and water well.

In the greenhouse there is always lots of pricking out and potting on to be done. Keep a look out for pest and disease also this month, as they can quickly take hold in your greenhouse.

Prevention is of course better than cure. With this in mind it is important to ventilate your greenhouse when you can especially on warm days. Good ventilation will help prevent a build-up of any disease in your greenhouse.

April is also the month to be sowing cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins and squashes. They are all sown in the same way. Place one seed per pot on its side one centimetre deep in good quality compost then water in.

In the fruit garden if you did not manage to mulch around your fruit trees in the autumn then it is not too late to do it now while the soil is still moist.

As your fruit bushes come into flower it is important to give them some protection with fleece or similar to help prevent the flowers being frosted off.

As you will be starting to produce lots of garden waste you are going to need space in your compost bins. So give your compost heap a turn as this will add more air into it which will in turn help the contents to rot down.

Garden Book of the Month

The Gardeners Companion to Medicinal Plants published by Frances Lincoln.

If you have ever wanted to know more about the medicinal properties of the plants in your garden then this is an interesting read. I have always been fascinated by the many uses that a plant can have. There are over 35,000 plants with medicinal uses and this book covers 277 of the more common herbal plants grown in the UK. But what makes this book different is that it covers how to turn some of the herbal plants into useful products. One that I am definitely going to try out this summer is Chickweed cream as we do have rather a lot that grows all over the garden. It is great for itchy skin there are lots more great recipes to try throughout the book from chicory coffee to sweet violet syrup!

This book is available from all good book shops RRP £14.99

ISBN 978-0-7112-3810-7