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Top April Allotment Tips

Welcome to our Top April Allotment Tips! We are at one of the busiest and exciting points in the allotment calendar. Both on the allotment and under glass, it is all systems go!

Seed Sowing, Windowsills & Greenhouses

Picture of seedlings to sow in April. Top April Allotment Tips.

The greenhouse is typically starting to get very full with trays of recently-sown tender crops including; courgette, cucumber (outdoor), climbing & french beans, squash and sweet corn.

Tomato plants in Top April Allotment Tips.

My tomato plants are on the windowsill at home for now. They too will soon be jockeying for prime position in the greenhouse.

A roll of frost protection fleece is on standby, for use in the greenhouse and on the plot. Nighttime temperatures can fluctuate wildly at this time of year. Tender seedlings and any early crops such as potatoes in containers need frost protection under glass if the mercury drops below zero. A greenhouse heater can be a good investment.

April Potato Planting

Potatoes in Top April Allotment Tips.

On the allotment, early potato varieties coming through the soil are vulnerable to frost. I’ve made a few unscheduled late evening trips to the plot over the years, to afford last-minute protection in response to any sudden falls in temperature. The young plants can be earthed up and the vulnerable foliage completely covered with soil. If a significant frost is forecasted, a combination of soil and fleece or cloche may be needed. Most healthy plants usually recover from frost, but they will be set back for anything up to four weeks. It is a time of year where the weather matters more than ever. There are lots at stake and our trust is with the Met Office!

For many, April is the key potato planting month in much of the UK. In good years, it is possible to plant early, second early and maincrop varieties, staggered over the course of the month. There is no right or wrong answer regarding the best time to plant potatoes. Ground conditions are key.

Veg to Plant Out

Brussel Sprouts in Top April Allotment Tips.

There is some planting out to be done this month too. Brussels sprouts need a long season and any hardened-off young plants should be planted out in their final positions by the end of April.

It can feel really strange to be thinking about next winter when we’ve only just (hopefully!) seen the back of the last one. There is a surprising planning element to running a year round allotment. In just a few weeks I’ll be sowing winter cabbage, kale and broccoli seeds.

Early Seed Sowings

Outdoors, mid-month, I will make early direct sowing of beetroot and spring onion in my specially prepared early bed. I’ll also be sowing carrot ‘Amsterdam Forcing 3’ which I’ve also sown in a container in the greenhouse. I’ll grow the carrots in the container outdoors in a sunny spot.

Parsnips in Top April Allotment Tips.

Traditionally one of the earliest crops sown directly on the allotment is parsnip. Only sow the seed when the soil is warm as germination can be erratic. Sowing the seed with a fast-maturing crop like radish helps to increase yield from the land and marks where the row is.

If you have grown any overwintered green manure, it is important to chop and dig the plant into the soil before flowering commences. This will stop the plants from seeding and becoming woody, taking longer to rot down.

Strawberry Plants & Asparagus April Top Allotment Tips

Strawberry plants in Top April Allotment Tips.

I’ve been giving my permanent and semi-permanent crops some much-needed attention. All the dead leaves from my strawberry plants have been removed and I’ve given the beds and a good tidy up. This allows good airflow to get to the crowns and reduces the likelihood of both the crown and any subsequent fruit rotting. Finally, I added a balanced fertiliser such as Blood Fish & Bone for sustenance.

There are rewards to be had at this time of year too. Succulent asparagus spears should soon be emerging from the soil to herald the start of the cropping season of this wonderful spring delicacy. It is worth keeping an eye out for slugs.

Asparagus in Top April Allotment Tips.

Do try to enjoy April and our Top April Allotment Tips. It is an exciting and progressive period on the allotment. It is true that for the next two months, the allotment is going to almost take over our lives but that is exactly the way it should be!

We hope you have enjoyed our Top April Allotment Tips and make sure you come back for more in May.

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About Lee Senior

Lee Senior is an experienced horticultural writer, RHS Yorkshire in Bloom judge and horticultural consultant. He has also had an allotment for over 25 years. After initially spurning horticulture as a career option, to pursue his boyhood dream of becoming a train driver, Lee soon realised he couldn't resist getting his hands dirty to make a living. Horticultural College training led, to getting an allotment at the tender age of 18 (in the days when you could actually get a plot quickly). My gardening hero, is Geoff Hamilton" says Lee. "It was Geoff who convinced me that you didn't have to spray everything that moved in the garden. Watching him on Gardeners’ World in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s was a revelation. I was lucky enough to meet Geoff and I’ve also more recently had the pleasure of meeting Joe Swift. Now over two decades of practical experience has taught me to work with mother nature, not to fight against her and don't try to tame her, as so many gardeners seem to be on a mission to do. Small-scale food growing is my passion and I can't wait for my two daughters, one who is 8 years old and the other who is 5 to hopefully pick up the baton in the future. Nothing beats the flavour and satisfaction of growing your own food. You simply cannot buy the same quality and freshness. Everyone can have a go at growing something says Lee, no matter where they live. Lee has also written his two books; 'Pennine Way, The Highs and Lows' which is a humorous, personal account of walking this momentous iconic walk. His second book 'Walking in the Aire', features 14 short walks in Yorkshire.

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