Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall.
However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic.
The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
April is a busy month for gardeners – there’s sowing and planting to be done – and it is time to turn your attention to long lost friends such as your vegetable patch.
This is a key month for planting vegetables and fruit in the garden, and from now until late autumn you will be sowing, planting and harvesting.
Finish off sowing seeds for early lettuces, summer carrots, dwarf peas, summer spinach and broad beans and start sowing beetroots, brassicas – broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and cabbage – peas, turnips and swede.
You can also plant the first early potatoes, weather dependent. For beginners, some of the easiest fruits to grow are berries. Strawberries and blueberries love containers or open ground and both will crop heavily once established.
A simple garden solution for April is to create your own vegetable patch. Mark out the area well, prepare the soil, dig in compost and then sow a variety of seeds that will provide you with vegetables all year round.
It’s a common misconception that you need a lot of space to be able to grow vegetables – you can still achieve real success with container grown plants. Tomatoes will thrive in pots and grow bags and can also be grown in the ground.
Another plant that loves container life, and being in borders as well, is lavender – and it is the perfect time to plant it so that you can enjoy it throughout the summer.
It’s a favourite with gardeners not just for its beautiful form and fragrance but also because it attracts essential pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
It is considered a romantic flower that most gardeners get the urge to plant in their garden sooner or later and can add real value with its scent and shades of purple flowers and silver leaf backdrop.
To successfully grow lavender, it needs to be planted in a warm, well-drained soil with full sun. It is often planted as an edging plant with roses or grown as an informal hedge. However, lavender does not like ‘wet feet’ as it promotes root rot, and ‘dampness’ is often the reason that it doesn’t perform well. It’s a tough plant though and, once established, only requires regular pruning after flowering has finished in the autumn.
April not only sees the start of National Gardening Week, from April 26 to May 2, but it really kicks off the gardening season so here are some top tips for this month from the Royal Horticultural Society:
- Tie back climbing and rambling roses,
- Keep an eye out for pests and keep weeds under control,
- Start feeding plants in the garden from now to the end of the summer,
- Sow seeds directly into the soil so they can flower in the summer,
- Sow vegetable seeds directly into prepared beds,
- Plant summer flowering bulbs,
- Sow new lawns or repair bare patches,
- Prune shrubs and trees,
- Apply mulch or manure to flower beds and pots,
- Prepare hanging baskets.