Gardening with Children

Family Zone

Things to do in the garden in April

Date Posted: 01 April 2013

Traditionally Easter marks the start of the gardening season and it’s usually one of the busiest months, the cold weather that we have had has delayed planting and sowing hopefully temperatures will begin to rise and we can catch up in the garden.
 
General
  • Set up some new Compost Bins to turn your garden waste into beneficial and free garden compost now is the ideal time to start the process off.
  • Prepare your vegetable beds ready for planting, fork over incorporating garden compost and a sprinkling of organic Chicken Poo and remove any weeds and stones.
  • Cover you beds with polythene, fleece or cloches to warm up the soil before sowing/planting.Covers for Soil & Crop Protection
  • Top up raised beds with top soil, replace any damaged posts or boards and apply a coat of preservative which will extend their life.
  • Clean the greenhouse to remove algae and let in more light and kill off overwintering pests and diseases.
  • Have a good clear out in your potting shed/greenhouse/polytunnel wash potting trays, seed trays and pots and throw away broken ones, check over, clean and maintain gardening tools and equipment.
  • Water butts and watering cans that have stood unused over winter will need draining and a good clean before refilling.
  • If you haven’t got a water butt buy one now and position near a downspout to catch rainwater, be prepared - remember last years spring drought 
Fruit
  • Buy/order new strawberry plants to replace exhausted/old plants. Young Strawberry plant
  • Pot up strawberry plants and grow on in a greenhouse/polytunnel for an earlier crop, allow insects to pollinate flowers by leaving the door open.
  • Apply a mulch of homemade garden compost from your compost bin or well rotted farmyard manure around fruit trees and bushes.
  • Bare root and container grown fruit trees can be planted this month.
  • Protect early blossom from frost with fleece.
Vegetables
  • Plant out early potatoes if conditions are suitable, or why not plant some in potato growing bags.
  • Harden off crops ready for planting out, once planted out protect with cloches, fleece or polythene.
  • Plant Asparagus Crowns and Jerusalem Artichoke Tubers.
  • Plant remaining onion sets, shallots and garlic outdoors, if the soil is wet or frozen they can be started off individually in pots in a cold greenhouse for planting out later.
  • Direct sow Broad Beans, Lettuce, Spinach, Parsnips, Peas, Spring Onions, Radish, Chard, Leeks, Carrots, Turnips, Beetroot, Summer/Autumn Brassicas and cover with fleece or cloches for protection.
  • Don’t be too hasty to sow seeds outside, they won’t grow if it is too cold or wet, you can sow many seeds in pots and seed trays indoors to get a head start - be guided by your weather conditions just as much as the seed packet.
In the Greenhouse/Polytunnel/on your Windowsill, in the Propagator
  • Sow Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Pumpkins, Marrows, Squashes, Aubergines, Celery, Herbs, Salad Leaves, French and Runner Beans, Sweet Corn and Watercress.
  • Place seed potatoes in egg boxes/seed trays to chit and produce strong healthy shoots ready for planting, cover with fleece on frosty nights.
  • Buy fresh vegetable/potting compost/grow bags and place in the greenhouse to warm up ready for use.
Harvest

Forced Rhubarb

  • Spring Cabbages, and Cauliflowers and the last of the winter vegetables including Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Kale, Parsnips, Swedes, Turnips and Leeks.
  • Forced Rhubarb stems are delicious stewed or in pies or crumbles eat them soon after picking. 
Wildlife
  • Keep bird feeders and bird baths topped up and wash out regularly to prevent disease.
  • Put up some nest boxes in your garden or why not build your own.
  • Your pond should be slowly coming to life, if you have a pump and filter system now is a good time to give them a spring clean.
  • Top up ponds during dry weather.
  • Now is a good time to make a pond in your garden, you will be amazed at the diversity of wildlife that it will attract many of which will take care of your garden pests creating a natural balance without using harmful chemicals.

 

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