Monthly Round-up: April

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The first day of the month was mostly sunny, though a cool breeze blew through my garden.  I’d tied these bean strings on the arch thinking I might be able to plant a few seeds out, but I don’t think I’ll risk it yet.  I’ve started some off in the greenhouse though.

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I spent some time putting the ‘spare’ water butts into place.

Then we had snow! Then rain! Then sun –  triggering a frenzy of seed-sowing – carrots and parsnips (in long/tall pots), calendula (in pots to spread around the garden), and more tomatoes.

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Outside, I sowed 18 climbing bean seeds in Raised Bed A (left) ready to train up the strings I put up the previous week.  These beans did so well last year that I bought another two packets.  As one sprouts, I’ll pop another one in.

At the end of the second week, I had potted on tomatoes, courgettes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

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It was difficult keeping an eye on everything – hot days and cold nights are not ideal.  As it is, I’m running out of space and am desperate to start planting up outside but we had some hard overnight frosts and it would be foolish to start too soon.

Almost every vegetable seed I sowed germinated, the exceptions being butternut squash and some of the tomatoes.

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I took lavender cuttings for the first time, at least twenty, but whether any of them take…

I also topped up the compost on one of my raised beds, using home-made compost for the first layer before emptying two of last year’s surplus grow-bags and a bag of multi-purpose compost on top.

After a really hot and sunny Easter weekend, I called in to one of our local garden centres.  It’s a bit more expensive than the other I use, but I have one of their discount cards and the vouchers for April included module strips of veg for half price – so six for the price of three.

I bought broad and runner beans, rainbow chard (which failed to grow from seed last year), baby leaf spinach, and multi-coloured beetroot.  Their seedlings were much more advanced than mine, so if I plant them at the same time as my own, that should give me the start of the succession planting I want.

I’ve already potted on the runner beans into 5 inch pots.  There were twenty-one – which works out at 8p per plant.  Having run out of gravel trays, I’ve resorted to stacker-boxes and cat-litter trays (unused).  But I’ve given away six plants to my brother, along with four tomato plants.

I also planted up my potatoes, leaving me with these last six, which I promised to a friend.

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And my Aliums are nearly ready to flower.

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After Easter, the weather changed; cooler and lots of lovely rain – which saved me a job and filled the water-butts to overflowing.  With showers forecast for the remainder of the month, my raised beds should be moist enough to begin planting out seedlings in early May.

One thing I did manage, in between heavy showers, was to plant out the garlic bulbs I’d over-wintered in pots.  So now the front of both raised beds is filled with garlic – and the few bulbs I glimpsed in the few seconds it took to transfer them from pot to soil, looked great – so I’m looking forward to the end of June/beginning of July to see if it was worth the effort and space.