Things really get going on the allotment in April, as the days lengthen and temperatures rise. There are lots of jobs to do, including sowing, planting and weeding.
Even if the days are warm, there is always a risk of frost at night, so resist the temptation to sow and plant too early. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and wait a few days if necessary. Protect early outdoor sowings with fleece.
Here are some key allotment jobs for April.
Plant seed potatoes
Aim to get all your potatoes planted by the end of the month – plant out chitted second early potatoes in the first two weeks of the month and maincrop potatoes in second two weeks.
This is the last chance to sow aubergines, chillies and tomatoes, which need a long growing season to do well. Sow them under cover. If you only want a few plants, you could wait until next month and buy plants at the garden centre.
Other crops that can be sown under cover include celeriac, courgettes, squashes, pumpkins and marrows, as well as leeks.
Beetroot and carrots can be sown directly outside. So can peas, but they are a favourite snack for mice – if these are a problem, sow them indoors and plant the plants outside when they are 15cm tall.
Thin out seedlings of crops sown last month, according to the spacings on the packets.
Transplant the seedlings of broad beans sown in pots last month, and plant in their final positions. Cover with fleece if cold weather is forecast.
Check for pests
You might start seeing aphids on your crops now – blast them off with water or spray with a horticultural soft soap.
Carry on weeding
Continue weeding – especially perennial weeds which will be starting to appear now – if you get on top of them now, they’ll be easier to control for the rest of the year. Hoe regularly to prevent annual weed seedlings growing.