April gardening tips
The fruit garden is one area where there is not a lot to do in April other than admire the blossom and ponder the harvest en route!
Plant strawberry plants in planters or hanging baskets for a pretty and delicious crop this summer. Protect fruit trees and gooseberries with netting; birds love developing fruit buds and your entire crop can disappear with astonishing speed unless protected!
Check your rhubarb; harvest it if it has grown, or if it is still in its infancy, keep the forcer on. To encourage faster growth, cover the forcer with horse manure; the heat will produce even more dramatic results as it rots down - and don’t forget that slugs enjoy forced rhubarb just as much as we do, so be vigilant!
The centres are now full of plantlets of vegetables, salads and herbs. For those that find growing from seed daunting, this is the ideal solution! Remember many need hardening off so be wary about planting them straight outside - ask in the centre for advice if you are unsure.
Many vegetable crops can be sown as seed this month - check the instructions on the packet and plant away! Broad beans, carrots, lettuces, spinach, salad leaves, leeks and chard are just a few ideas to get your healthy, cheap and home-grown food underway!
Traditionalists plant potatoes on Good Friday - plant first and second earlies first, main crop by the middle of the month.
If you have a frost-free greenhouse, get ahead with the summer crops - sweet peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and salads can be planted inside. (If it remains cold, check the temperature requirements on the seed packet and wait if necessary.) Again, we sell many of these as plants in our garden centres.