I’ve been writing monthly ‘What to Sow Now’ posts since February, and they’ve been popular (it’s always nice to know that my visit stats aren’t just my mum sitting there pressing refresh).
And on Thursday Andrew asked me via Twitter if I was going to write one for April. Well, I couldn’t really say no, especially considering that the answer is ‘pretty much everything’!
However, the soil is still warming up, so I’d hold off sowing directly until the weeds start to grow vigorously in your beds. Once this is the case, hoe them off and get sowing as the soil is warm enough.
You can speed the soil warming process up by laying a black tarpaulin on the surface or use cloches. I’ve got a few peas in one of my raised beds under a cloche, and they’re beginning to germinate.
Go Direct With Carrots, Radish, Chard, Beets, Salad and a Few More
I’ve got a few weeds in my beds, so have sown some early carrots and radish in my raised beds, and over the coming fortnight, I’ll put chard, beetroot and salad leaves in the same bed. Other seeds that can be sown directly during April are parsnips, peas, maincrop carrots, broad beans, and spring onions.
If your soil is clay-like and we get rain followed by sun, a crusty top can develop. A good tip I picked up is to cover your seeds with multi-purpose compost (pictured) rather than the soil from the bed, which is much easier for the seedlings to push through.
Undercover in Modules
Lettuce, chard, parsnips, and beets can all be sown undercover in modules too. This time of year, the vast majority of my sowings are still undercover in pots. I’ll be sowing leeks, PSB, kale, Brussels, and from the third week of the month, runner beans, French beans, tomatoes, squashes, and courgettes.
If you’re sowing in pots, make sure you get decent multi-purpose compost and be a lot better at remembering to water than I am. The pots dry out really quickly in a greenhouse and I’d recommend watering every day if you can.
If you don’t have a greenhouse, a bright windowsill will work well, and leeks, peas, broad beans, lettuce, and chard will all germinate outside in pots. Bring the multi-purpose inside for a couple of days if practical, as that will warm the soil.
Don’t forget that the nights can still get pretty cold this time of year, so cover seedlings with fleece or bubble wrap if the temperature drops very low. Germinating seedlings don’t like temperatures to fluctuate too much, so make sure you open the greenhouse door during hot days too.
But best of all, just keep sowing and sowing. April and May are busy times, and I’ll keep sowing whenever I have a few minutes. I figure its best to have too many seedlings and too few.
You can always swap the surplus, and seeing what leftovers people leave outside the allotment hut is a great way of discovering different varieties.