Image of a rainbow over a field of purple crocus, photo 48349620 by Panaramka

"welcome to April with hope for the year"

After a very wet and soggy winter it has been lovely to be out in the (intermittent) sunshine these past few days. Spring bulbs are emerging, blossom and new leaves appearing, the magnolias are magnificent. Thinking of what seeds to sow now? 

April is the prime month to start sowing indoors and out. It is tempting to sow everything straight off but a little bit of scheduling can save time and space and wasted effort. It does depend on your location and your soil. Seeds don't germinate if the soil is too cold - a good indicator the ground is warming up is when weeds - chickweed and speedwell start into growth. Mine sadly is still too cold and wet despite the sunnier days but I am starting some chard, peas, kale and lettuce off in pots and trays outside but not yet in the ground. I have a high sided tub (to help against carrot fly) of carrots  though these, parsnips and broad beans can be sown direct. Others such as outdoor tomatoes, courgettes and mini  cucumbers I am starting in my little windowsill propagator, having potted on the chilli peppers. Depending on the weather ahead I may cover the soil with cardboard or horticultural fleece to assist in supressing weeds whilst trapping the warmth ready for planting out.  

I have planted my chitted seed potatoes in bags this year as a trial. All types of seed potatoes - maincrop, first and second earlies can be planted during April if it was too wet for your 1st earlies in March. Plant any onion and shallot sets or onions grown from seed. Hardier vegetables could be sown direct as they will cope with fluctuation in temperatures. Sow broad beans, beetroot, calabrese, celeriac, chard, kohl rabi, lettuce, peas, radish, spring onions, spinach, swede and turnip.  More tender vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, courgette, melons, pumpkins and squash need a bit of cosseting, starting off indoors before hardening up for planting out once the frost has finally passed. Calendula, nigella and cosmos from seed can be sown direct but zinnias, rudbeckias and french marigolds (tagetes) should also be started indoors.

Good time to sow herbs; coriander, dill and parsley for the kitchen plus perennials like chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme for the herb garden. 

This month's quote is from Phebe A Holden 'An April Song' . The image is by an Ukrainian photographer 








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