April is a busy time on the veg patch or allotment, with plenty of seed sowing and planting to do. It’s also time to start harvesting early forced crops such as rhubarb, and early spring crops like early spring cabbages.
Find out about allotment jobs for April.
Here are some of the crops that you can harvest on the allotment in April.
Forced rhubarb stems should be ready to harvest eight weeks after they were covered with a bin or cloche. Gently pull the stems from the base of the crown, and remove the poisonous leaves before eating. Find out how to plant rhubarb.
Uncovering rhubarb ready to crop
Asparagus plants need time to establish, so don’t harvest until their third year after planting. Harvest from mid-April for a maximum of six weeks – cut off the spears with a knife, an inch below the soil surface. Harvest every few days, when the spears are around 15cm high.
A row of asparagus
Purple sprouting broccoli
Using a sharp knife, cut the central spear first – this will encourage new spears to develop. Then take a few spears (around 10cm long) from each plant. Pick while the flower buds are still tight – once the flower buds have opened, the crop won’t be as tasty. Find out how to grow purple sprouting broccoli.
Purple-sprouting broccoli ready to harvest
Radishes are ready to harvest in just a few weeks. If part of the radish is visible above the soil, they are ready to pick. Alternatively, stick a finger in the soil and feel around for the roots. Don’t leave radishes in the ground too long, otherwise they become woody and bitter – it is better to harvest them (by pulling up the whole plant) and store in the fridge. Don’t forget that you can eat the peppery leaves, too. If you have lots of leaf but no radish, this may because the plants weren’t thinned once they had germinated.
Don’t forget to sow every few weeks for crops throughout the summer.
Pulling up a radish
Harvest each cabbage using a sharp knife. Leave a 10cm stalk, then cut a cross in the top and it might produce an extra cabbage or two. Find out how to plant spring cabbage.
Rows of cabbages ready to harvest
Start harvesting spring onions when they are about the thickness of a pencil – simply pull them up as you need them. Leave the rest in the ground until you want to eat them.
Harvesting spring onions