Get growing edibles in April
Find out which delicious veg and fruit you can grow and harvest this month, with Rosie Yeomans
April weather is notoriously fickle, meaning that while you're excitedly looking ahead and spending warm days sowing and planting veg for summer, frost protection should still be at the forefront of your mind for any outdoor crops.
Rosie Yeomans shares some of her April activities for the fruit and veg garden, below.
More fruit and veg advice:
April fruit and veg inspiration
Rosie's jobs for this month:
Sow courgette and squash seeds
It’s time to sow courgette and squash seeds. I sow one seed per pot, sowing them vertically, about 2cm deep, blunt end down. If you lay them flat, they’re more likely to rot. Keep seeds warm and put seedlings in plenty of light. It takes about 6 weeks from sowing to planting.
Be careful, I’m often overwhelmed with courgettes; two-three courgette plants will feed the family and all your neighbours. I love growing one green, one yellow and one striped variety. Squash on the other hand, store well into the winter but take up loads of space so grow what you can or like me, if you can’t resist one more plant, train them up supports instead.
Plant asparagus crowns
Get some asparagus crowns now to make a new bed. Home grown asparagus is SO much tastier than the bundles you buy in the shops. I plant a new bed every 8-10 years when the old one begins to slow down. It takes at least 2 years before you can harvest from crowns so it’s worth overlapping them. My heavy soil needs extra drainage and lots of organic matter to give the plants plenty of oomph.
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Make a 20cm deep trench with a 10cm high hump along the middle to spread the fleshy roots over. Pull soil back over just to cover the crown then as the shoots appear, gradually fill back up to ground level. Spears are harvested by cutting into the soil so the deep crown is quite safe from damage.
Build bean supports
I love seeing the variety of bean support designs that appear on our allotment site – and now is a good time to construct them. Some are built with great precision, canes perfectly spaced and neatly tied. Mine are are mismatched poles in all sorts of shapes. I make teepees and fountain towers. I also have a sturdy frame with vertical strings. Some clever veg growers save space by straddling a path to create a walk-through bean pergola.
Whatever you do, make it strong, canes must be pushed in the ground by at least 30cm. Brace the uprights with horizontal poles and secure the whole structure ready for summer winds and the weight of this year's bumper crop.
Feed soft fruit bushes
Sprinkle some granular fertiliser around the base of your soft fruit bushes now to support the burst of spring growth and to encourage plenty of flowers in anticipation of a good fruit set. Mine are all in a fruit cage so I hand weed with a trowel right through the cage first.
Always fertilise moist ground so if it hasn’t rained recently, water the soil before you put the fertiliser on. Next look at the pack to get the dose rate right then scatter the fertiliser on the ground close to the bush. Follow this with a thick layer of compost mulch. I only water again if there’s no rain in the forecast.
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