Things to do in the Garden – April

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

April has arrived and with it Spring really is here and now is time to really get going with preparations for getting the garden on the way.


Its time to blow away the cobwebs and really get going in the vegetable garden. If you haven’t started yet get your seeds sown. Marrows, courgettes, squashes, as well as sweet peppers, tomatoes and Aubergines can all be sown indoors under glass, while French beans and Sweetcorn can be sown outside under cloches. If it is still a bit cool wait until May when it begins to warm up.

Runner beans I normally start indoor in “growtubes” - basically toilet roll tubes – which, when the plant is strong enough and it the weather is warm enough, I plant in the tube into the tubs (I do all my vegetable gardening in containers).

Your “seed” potatoes that have been chitting away all this time can now be planted. Get your earlies in at the beginning of the month leaving your main crops until later in the month. Plant them 10cm deep in your vegetable plot or alternatively plant them in bags or pots. As the foliage begins to emerge draw up soil around them. This will stop any exposed potatoes from turning green.

I must say I have already planted the first potato chits in the middle to and of March and the first ones are currently coming up in a Potato Pot that I reviewed for Lakeland.

Beans and potatoes are probably some of my vegetable favorites, together with cabbage and kale. Runner beans, Broad beans and French (Dwarf) beans are all usable fresh and can also be dried to be used in winter.

Runner beans are Lima beans and Broad beans are, actually, Fava beans. Many people are always at a loss when they have Fava beans or Lima beans mentioned in a recipe and many people also will throw away Runner beans when they become stringy but there is no need to do that. The very beans can be removed from the pod and cooked as fresh Lima beans. But, as Michael Caine used to say, “no many people know that”.


If your greenhouse is unheated, it is time to get you tomatoes sown. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot or module and thin them to the strongest seedling as they develop. Once the tomato plants reach about 4-5” tall they can be moved to their final growing position once the risk of freezing temperatures have passed.

Pests & Diseases

As the weeks get warmer, it is time to start looking out for slugs and aphids and treat accordingly.


Begin to thin early sowing as they become large enough to handle. As they get stronger thin to the appropriate spacing. Collect together sticks, wire mesh or netting to support your peas. Dust of the canes and other supports and get them in place ready for your bean crops. Keep early sowings protected from the cool temperatures with fleece or cloches. As the weeds being to pop up, keep on top of them and don’t let them become a huge problem through the summer.


Keep the area around your fruit bushes weeded, apply a mulch around the base of the plants, this will help to suppress the weeds and to conserve moisture. For a more bountiful crop of strawberries in the second year, remove the flowers of spring planted strawberries. This will give the plants time to establish during the first year. Get the last of your fruit bushes and canes planted this month.

© 2011