Growing your own vegetables is not only incredibly satisfying but also incredibly easy. What could be better than serving up a crisp summer salad picked fresh from your garden, or delicious roast potatoes from your own harvest come autumn?
April is a busy time for those of us wishing to grow our own veg, with the arrival of warmer weather meaning there's plenty to plant.
Now is the time to get your seed potatoes (if you haven't already!). There's still time to chit them to give them a head start before planting (see our handy guide for more information on the process of chitting) but you'll want to get them in the ground before long. First earlies should already be in the ground; second earlies can be planted in the first few weeks of April; while maincrop seed potatoes can be planted later in the month.
Shallots and garlic should be in the ground by now, but if you haven't planted yours yet there's still a small window of opportunity. Get shallots and garlic planted as soon as possible (we still have a small selection in the garden centre) - early April at the latest. Both will want well-worked, free-draining and fertile soil in a sunny position.
Onion sets can be planted throughout the month and will also want to be planted in well-drained, fertile and well-worked soil.
While it's still a little cold to sow directly outside, there's a whole host of vegetables which can be planted indoors during April. These include lettuce, kohlrabi, cauliflower, leeks, beetroot, courgette, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines. Avoid planting vegetables like carrots and radish, as these won't appreciate being disturbed once established, and are best sown directly into the ground.
Start your vegetables off inside by planting seeds in trays and placing them in a greenhouse; on sunny windowsills; or in warm porches. This will allow them to develop into seedlings, which can then be transplanted into the ground once the weather is warmer and the ground frost-free.
The instructions provided on seed packets are often very informative, while our friendly staff here at Beetham Nurseries are always happy to answer any queries – big or small – you may have.
For an easy-to-grow option, vegetable plants are a brilliant choice - and from lettuce to tomatoes, there's plenty to be grown this month. Buying vegetable plants rather than seeds is a little more fool-proof and offers the benefit of a head-start on starting from scratch.
Vegetable plants can be bought now and hardened off for a week or two (this can be done by placing them outside during the day, bringing them back inside at night to protect against frost), before going into the ground. Once planted, place a cloche over your vegetable plants while frosts and colder weather prevail. Alternatively, plants can be kept in a cool greenhouse once bought for a few weeks before being planted outside.
Are you growing your own vegetables this year? We have a wide selection of seeds and plants in the Garden Centre, as well as all the gardening accessories you'll need to ensure a healthy and successful crop.