GARDEN | April Gardening

8th April 2014 0 By Adam Willcox

Here we go! The days are longer and warmer now and you can actually get outside without dressing like an Eskimo.

This is where the fun begins – but a word of warning: keep an eye on the weather. The month of the April Fool can play all sorts of tricks – be mindful of your particular surroundings because if you go gung-ho with your planting a late frost could undo all your hard work in a minute.

Herbs If you’ve limited space, even if you just have a balcony or window boxes then grow herbs. The best way to pep up your cooking is with incredibly fresh and flavoursome herbs – rosemary with lamb, basil on your pasta dishes, parsley with fresh fish – I could go on forever but it really is true. At this time of year almost all herbs can be planted outside now. Make sure the soil’s warm enough and get your kitchen garden in the ground. Your meals will never be the same again!

Prepare you seed beds Everyone loves a freshly made bed and your plants are just the same. If you’ve done this before you should have added your homemade compost to the bed last autumn to give it time to thoroughly rot down, but fear not some decent compost or manure that’s well rotted can be added now to get your planting off to a great start. Soil varies from place to place but any hard material like stones and sticks should be removed where possible – get the rake out and aim for the finest soil you can get – you can even sieve it if you want to go the extra mile (and are slightly crazy).

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Harden off your indoor grown young plants Just like us your plants need a bit of training now and again. Anything you’ve been growing indoors at this point needs to be taken outside on warm days and then brought back in at night. Acclimatising plants like this gives them a better chance of flourishing in the unpredictable British weather.

Don’t forget colour. – Growing crops is ultimately rewarding in the garden, but don’t forget to make it pretty too. Once you’ve got all your food and you’re enjoying the feast outside you should have somewhere lovely and bright to sit and enjoy it. I know psychologically for me sitting amongst flower-pots bursting with colour makes me feel very happy indeed. To pretty things up pots and hanging baskets are great as they can be moved and adapted to create different spaces and moods – and don’t be tempted to spend a fortune on them – old buckets and watering cans make great planters, just make sure you drill some holes in the bottom so the flowers don’t drown!

So there we go, that’s April. Now’s the time to get ready to start reaping the rewards of your hard work – next month you could be harvesting your first crops and feeling very pleased with yourselves indeed.