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Get ready to grow
Vegetable growing really takes off this month. Chit and plant out second early potatoes in the first half of the month, maincrop potatoes in the second half. It's also time to sow seed outdoors in well-prepared soil.
Ideal time to plant pot-grown fruit trees and bushes.
Chit and plant out second early potatoes in the first half of the month, maincrop potatoes in the second half.
Sow seed outdoors for beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard, summer cauliflower, kohl rabi, lettuce, leeks, radish, turnip, spring and pickling onions, peas and perpetual spinach in well-prepared soil.
Try sowing unusual vegetables such as salsify, Hamburg parsley, or scorzonera.
Sow seed indoors of marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and squash. Also sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, celery, celeriac, salads and globe artichokes.
In very mild areas sow dwarf French beans and sweet corn outside under cloches or fleece at the end of April. In cooler areas wait until May.
Sow a seedbed of brassicas to provide transplants of sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages for planting out in June or July.
Transplant broad beans grown in pots.
Plant shallots, onion sets and garlic.
Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
Plant asparagus crowns.
Pot up tomato seedlings when they develop true leaves above the more rounded seed leaves.
Apply apple and pear scab controls.
Deal with aphids, apple sucker, pear sucker, pear midge, caterpillars and powdery mildew.
Look out for red spider mite and aphids on strawberries under glass and treat accordingly.
Start treating for American gooseberry mildew.
Keep on top of weed control and continue through to summer.
Liquid feed fruit trees in pots with a balanced feed every fortnight.
Where possible, protect plum and pear flowers from frost but allow insects access for pollination.
Damp down or mist citrus plants regularly when flowering begins. Maintain a min temperature of 14°C (57°F).
Deblossom strawberries planted after September in their first year to help establishment.
Pick forced strawberries under heated glass.
Ventilate strawberries under cloches and mulch with straw or mats.
Avoid using insecticides on crops in flower.
Support pea plants with sticks, twigs, green support mesh, or wire netting.
Thin out rows of seedlings as soon as they are large enough to be handled.
Protect early outdoor sowings with fleece and polythene.
Continue to force witloof chicory and seakale.
Dig up selected chicory roots, pot them up, and position them in a dark warm place (10-13°C; 50-55°F), with an upturned pot over them.
Prepare runner bean supports for sowing (in May) or planting out (in June).
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