WHAT TO DO IN MID APRIL
  • Warm soil with cloches or sheets of polyethene for early sowings.
  • Plant herbs in pots, and keep them close to the house so you can reach them easily.
  • If you have tender seedlings make sure you bring them into the house for the night or fleece or cover them if they are in a tunnel or greenhouse.
  • Sow seeds of the following crops this week if conditions are fine: beetroot, parsnips, turnips, onions, peas and mangetout, broad beans, lettuce and salad leaves, spinach, radish, rocket, pak choi, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
  • Sprinkle fertiliser around clumps of tulips to boost flowering.
  • Harden off sweet pea seedlings sown last autumn.
  • Install water butts to all downpipes on your house, shed or greenhouse, to collect rainwater.
  • Lift and divide clumps of hemerocallis.
  • Secure emerging clematis shoots to supports, taking care not to snap their fragile stems.
  • Plant some garlic in pots, so you can move it around to where it is needed, for aphid protection.
  • Plant out onion sets and shallots.
  • Place collars around the stems of brassicas to prevent an attack of cabbage root fly.
  • If your garden suffers from gaps during the summer, why not use lilies or dahlias to add a temporary, but timely, burst of colour? Plant bulbs into pots now and you can simply drop them, pot and all - into displays on the patio, or even into your flower border.
  • Trim winter-flowering heathers, removing faded flowers and tidying up their shape.
  • Protect emerging shoots of delphiniums and lupins from slugs and snails using a barrier such as copper tape for pots (They won’t pass the copper line).

Give it a try… a few edible delights for growing in pots. We had great success with the tomato called ‘Totem’ last year.  Totem is a dwarf variety that has been bred for growing in packs, pots, and containers. It flowers very rapidly and it needs little support until the fruit starts to swell when the sheer weight of fruit produced may mean that a stake is needed. The round fruit is crimson in colour when fully ripened, and it lasts well on the plant, making it an ideal subject to pick and use in salads or barbecues.  If you like blueberries, you will love the new fantastic deliciously sweet pink berry, which is taking Europe by storm. This ornamental and fruiting plant, has a bushy upright growing habit with fine, pointed leaves which turn bright orange in the autumn. The pink bell-shaped flowers provide plenty of spring interest, followed by pale green fruits in summer, which quickly become dappled with pale pink and finally ripen to a deep glossy pink colour. As the autumn approaches, the leaves turn bright orange, fading to deep red .Superb eaten straight from the plant as they are twice as sweet as blueberries. You can grow it anywhere in pots or tubs. Thompson and Morgan have developed the urban container garden collection which means you can grow everyday crops like lettuce, carrots, peas, French beans and even chillies in containers. They have been bred to mature quickly and not take up too much space. For the sweetest baby carrots try a variety called ‘Paris market’ and a dwarf pea perfect for containers as it only grows 30” high called ‘sugar snow green’, if you get your children to plant them you might be surprised how easy it is to get them to eat them, it usually works! Give it a go. I have grown vegetables for years and if you are new to this you will probably find some vegetables work better for you than others and also that the weather conditions will also mean some things do better than others. Take the rough with the smooth and don't be unhappy if not everything works. That's quite normal. Best of luck!

April