Welcome to the vegetable garden calendar April job list, part of the month to month guide to vegetable gardening. Here is your gardening list for the month of April.
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We always feel that April is the real start to the year, as this is the time that the soil is beginning to warm, and the bulk of the year’s seed sowing has to be completed.
When you look at your garden during the month of April, the evidence of soil warmth is manifested in the growth of weeds, and during April you may be drawn to the garden to start weeding. For some, this means a sharp hoe, for others a kneeling pad and hand tools, as gardeners will never agree in the best way to weed.
Rain will often be a feature of this month, so it is worth checking for damage if it has been particularly heavy.
One of the true markers of the start of the growing season is the sowing of potato seeds, and once they are in, it's obvious the vegetable growing season is upon us. Traditionally potatoes are planted at Easter, which has more to do with workers holidays than anything else, and as Easter has no fixed date, it does not really matter when you sow your potatoes in April.
If you have kept up to date with your winter jobs your potato bed should be well fed with some well-rotted manure, if not, there is no time like the present. Of course, there will probably be a few weeds taking advantage of this rich soil, so a good weed will probably be called for.
Dig a shallow trench for your potatoes, and if you're near the coast you can collect seaweed to line each trench. This provides plenty of extra nutrition, and as an added bonus, it seems to keep the slugs away.
Of course the succession sowings that you started last month will need to be kept up to date, and a sowing of lettuces and some of the brassicas, once a fortnight will help to keep these vegetables available.
The beginning of the mouth will probably be your last chance to plant Jerusalem Artichokes.
The biggest vegetable garden calendar April jobs will be sowing, as there is quite a list.
If you have not already done so you will need to sow cucumbers, the last of the broad beans, celeriac, peppers, chilli, aubergine and tomatoes, as soon as possible. Then sow chicory, endive, radicchio, leeks, lettuce, broccoli, calabrese, summer and autumn cabbages, summer and autumn cauliflowers, kale, sweetcorn and celery.
Later on in the month sow courgettes, summer and winter squashes, French beans, runner beans, and pumpkins.
If you hadn’t started peas off in cell packs last month then you could sow some directly, and you could also try some directly sown French, broad and runner beans, although you may prefer to start them in pots as the mice can be quite hungry during this time of year, and you’ll be amazed at how many beans they will find outside.
Onions and shallots sets can go in now, but favour the shallots if you’re stuck for time as they prefer to have longer in the ground. And of course, keep sowing those salads every other week.
The root vegetables will need to go in, including parsnip, beetroot, carrots, salisfy and scorzonera, but be aware that the carrot root fly is around so you will need to erect a barrier to keep her away.
As we have seen, potatoes will need to go in, but if you have a greenhouse or poly, why not grow sweet potatoes. Although they are only related to potatoes by name, they make a great alternative, but will need the undercover heat to grow.
Other vegetables to sow directly could include kohlrabi, swede, turnip, radish, true spinach, swiss chard and leaf beet.
Unlike the sowing list for April, the harvest list will be one of the shortest. This is the ‘Hungry Gap’ of the vegetable garden and in our vegetable garden calendar April harvesting list, the only thing you are likely to be picking is purple sprouting broccoli, one of the first vegetables to be ready in any season.
You could also have a few parsnips and salsify in the ground, but they are probably trying to regrow, so will be past their best, and hopefully some of your stored veg will still be acceptable.
If you have swedes or celeriac in the ground they should be fine, but will have to come up now anyway.
And if you are really lucky and managed to get some first early potatoes in the greenhouse, you may just get a harvest this month.
Other than these few things that you may have in your garden, this month’s harvest tends to come from the freezer, and with luck you should have a variety, albeit, a shrinking choice of home grown vegetables.