It's been a cold start to April this year – after a long winter we’ll be glad to see the back of it. Let’s hope the temperatures start rising now it’s April and spring can get finally get underway.y.
At the beginning of this month we suggest you stay aware of the cold temperatures, having horticultural fleece at hand and be prepared to keep young plants in cold frames. For flowering fruit trees like plums and apples be prepared to protect the blossoms from frost should evening temperatures plummet.
Easter weekend is a great opportunity to get jobs done, working off that Easter dinner and onto the veg plot. So enjoy, this spring has been a long time coming.
The Marshalls Team
Our top 3 jobs for the month
Now you have chitted your potatoes to promote short stubby stem bases, it’s time to plant them into rich soil into trenches or in purpose-made grow sacks like Marshalls Gro-Sacks. If growing in sacks place three to five seed potatoes for every sack. If in the ground place at 30cm (12in) intervals.
If this April is a cold one- we know March certainly was – you might well need to make visits back and forth to the cold frame to turn seedlings of vegetable plants into tough, vegetables able to withstand all the elements that the UK can throw at them.
Sow carrots in April directly into your vegetable bed or into a row in your VegTrug or raised bed. You just need to sow thinly in shallow drills and thin to around 7-10cm (2 ½-4in) as the seedlings develop. Home-grown carrots imbibe a superior flavour as they grow- definitely worth a place on your plot.
From mulching to pruning, the best of indoor jobs and preparing for success see expert information. Your asparagus deserves your attention at this time of year and some greenhouse-cleaning on a rainy day will put you in good stead for a pest and disease-free year. See our complete lists of jobs for April here.
Strawberries will get you in the summer mood after our long, long winter. Taking on flavours unique to home-growing, strawberries are great to try on your plot.
Check out three varieties great for the grower – from classic red to white wonders:
Strawberry Marshmello - The sweetest you can get
Strawberry Snow White - Beautiful white ripe skin
Strawberry Framberry - Sweet strawberry taste with a raspberry scent
Give your gardening hands a well earned rest and have a go at making this delicious frozen yoghurt. With only a few simple ingredients needed, in just moments you can be enjoying this well deserved tasty dessert.
280g (10oz) frozen strawberries
2 tbs honey
60g (2 oz) natural yoghurt
½ tbs lemon juice
- Place strawberries, honey and lemon juice in a food processor and blitz.
- Blitz for a minute or two until the strawberry mix is creamy and velvety.
- Place in Tupperware containers and freeze for six hours+
- This yoghurt is at its best after a few weeks of storage.
Watch out for pests and diseases
Not a pest or disease as such but late frosts can be just as debilitating for your crops. April and even May can be witness to evening cold snaps and blossoms from your tree fruit or ornamentals like flowering quince. If you have an east-facing fruit tree, the frosty nights followed by early sun thaw the flowers too quickly and burst the cells walls- browning your fruit blossoms and potentially ruining your harvests.
See our Marshalls April catalogue for all the vegetable seeds and plants you can put in the ground now, including onion sets and seed potatoes you can plant. Buy hurry, time is ticking so take advantage of the great deals within and secure your crops.
Timely tasks at Easter
Read our blog on the best jobs to do over the Easter weekend (30 March-2 April). It can be a weekend quite full on so it pays on having a bit of ‘me time’ on the vegetable plot to relax, take stock and exercise your green fingers.