Action for April Fruit and veg
Tidy strawberry beds
Lay a bed of straw around the plants to keep the developing fruit away from slugs. During the day, open cloches to allow insects in to pollinate the flowers.
Last chance to plant raspberry canes
Cut to 15cm above ground level after planting. Erect a support system using posts and wire, drape with netting to prevent birds, and mulch.
Mulch fruit trees and bushes
Ensure new or established trees and bushes are well mulched to help keep weeds down, and keep moisture in.
Make sure the mulch doesn’t lie against stems, canes or trunks as this may encourage diseases and cause the stems to rot. Well-rotted manure is ideal – check out local or city farms for a supply.
Feed blackcurrants and blackberries
Blackcurrants and blackberries will be putting on a growth spurt around now and will appreciate being fed with a high-nitrogen feed. Use sparingly and follow pack directions.
Sow under glass
Sow cucumber, basil, outdoor tomatoes, peppers and chillies either in the greenhouse or in seed trays with lids placed in a sunny sheltered spot.
Courgettes, marrows, melons, squash, pumpkins and sweetcorn are best sown in individual pots or modules rather than trays.
In a coldframe or sheltered spot, sow Brussels sprouts, calabrese, kale, summer cauliflowers, French and runner beans and lettuces.
Sow beetroot, broad beans, early carrots, chard, kohl rabi, lettuces, parsnips, peas, radishes, spinach, spring onions and turnips in pre-prepared seed beds.
Plant onion sets, chitted potatoes and hardened-off broad beans, summer and autumn cabbages, summer cauliflowers, purple sprouting broccoli, lettuces and peas.
Potatoes can be in pots if you don’t have space in the ground. Finish planting potatoes and earth up those already in the ground – draw the soil up until you have a ridge 30cm high and wide.
Control weeds and pests
Hoe between rows of vegetables on dry sunny days to control weeds.
To prevent aphids, sow poached-egg plants, candytuft or Californian poppies on the veg patch. This will help attract hoverflies, whose larvae feed on aphids.