April-June

kohlrabiSowing and planting in April –

April is the ideal time to plant dwarf varieties of pot-grown fruit trees and bushes. Please see Allotment Rules 3.11 regarding dwarf stock.

Vegetables

Chit and plant out maincrop potatoes in the second half of April.

Sow seed outdoors for traditional vegetables such as beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard, summer cauliflower, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, radish, turnip, spring and pickling onions, peas and perpetual spinach in well-prepared soil.

Sow seed indoors for marrows, zucchini, pumpkins and squash all of which can move to your allotment patch when all risk of frost has passed.

In very mild areas sow French beans and sweet corn outside under cloches or fleece towards the end of April.

Sow a seedbed of brassicas to provide transplants of sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages for planting out in June or July.

Plant out broad beans started in pots.
Plant onion sets, garlic and shallots.
Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers.
Plant asparagus crowns.
Transfer tomato seedlings to pots or grow-bags when they have developed true leaves above the more rounded seedling leaves.

NB. The nights start drawing in on 22nd June!


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LOTS OF CHOICE IN MAY AND JUNE
writes Matthew Chambers

There is a lot of choice for planting in May and June. These include quick growing succession crops like lettuce, rocket, radishes, spinach and coriander as well as medium term crops such as carrots, french beans and peas that can be sown 2 or 3 times throughout the growing season. To get the timing right you should wait until the previous crop has become well established – that is when leafy crops have 4 true leaves or when peas are 5cm (2″) high and beans are 10cm (4″).

Little Maintenance
Pumpkin and squash can be planted now and are a good first year crop as they require little maintenance, take up a large area and can be stored for several months to provide lots of tasty winter dishes.

Long Cropping Season
Parsnips are easy to grow and can be left in the ground until needed giving a long cropping season over October, November, December and January. Parsnips, along with carrots, celery, parsley and celeriac are susceptible to carrot fly.

Avoiding Carrot Fly
This lays its eggs in the soil and the larvae hatch and tunnel into the roots. They are usually attracted in the first place when rows of seedlings are thinned out and create a scent for the flies to follow where they know food will be available for their offspring. There are a couple of ways of avoiding these pests, one is to remove all thinned seedlings from the site immediately and further protection can be provided by a 0.6m (2′) tall fleece or plastic barrier as the female is a low flying insect and can’t get over it.

Double Digging – Essential
Deep digging 45cm (18″) is essential before planting and at this time of year the soil is drier and lighter making it a bit easier to do. The benefits of double digging – it’s called double because it is 2 spade lengths deep – when you first take on a plot will be realised over many years to come and will bring higher yields and also much improved drainage in the winter.

 

RHS’ Grow Your Own – Veg Planner can be viewed or downloaded from their site. Click on the image below to view and print-out…

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Download Veg Planner from RSA (pdf)