tulips and spring flowers

Gardening in April

Gardening tips from North Leeds Life, by Tracy Foster


Sow:
Courgettes, cucumbers, gourds and squash can be sown indoors now. This year I’m growing Loofah gourds – plants with long green courgette like fruits that are edible when young, and when left on the plant to ripen, turn hard and dry. These dry fruits can be skinned to reveal the fibrous Loofahs inside which are ideal for plastic free scrubbing in the bathroom or kitchen.

You can also sow broad beans, beetroot, carrots, peas, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, chard and radishes directly outside into a prepared bed or container,
and if you have seed potatoes, these can be planted out too.

If flowers are more your sort of thing, ‘hardy annuals’ like Love in a Mist, Larkspur, Sunflower, Orlaya, and Cornflower seeds can be
planted outside directly where you want to see them grow. Others labelled ‘half hardy annuals’ should be sown indoors and grown on in containers ready for
planting out in late May when there is no risk of frost. These include Zinnias, Snap Dragons, Cosmos and Nicotiana. Imagine gathering bunches of cut flowers to bring into the house in a few months time!

Collect:
Branching sticks with plenty of twigs attached make perfect climbing frames for peas and good supports for many garden plants. Next time you are out for a
walk, keep a look out for fallen sticks, ones from trees like Hazel and Silver Birch would be perfect. Prunings from plants like Dogwood, Forsythia and Willow
from your own garden can also make good supports.

Regular Jobs:

Some tasks to continue doing throughout the summer include weeding, watering in dry spells, tying in the new growth of climbing plants and staking tall perennials.
It’s also wise to keep an eye out for any evidence of pests and diseases so that you can take action before they do any serious damage to your plants.

Enjoy:

Things to harvest this month include Rhubarb, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Leeks from the vegetable garden, and Tulips from the cut flower patch.