April on the Allotment Garden

By Richard Chivers

Snow dominated March. And although it feels like we’ve lost an entire chunk of the gardening season, we really haven’t.

It’s not too late and in some respects, it’s better to delay the sowing, even in a ‘normal’ year, as the plants will catch up and probably be better for it too.

April is famous for showers, but it’s often rather dry. In fact, it’s the frosts that can catch us off guard this month as the longer days tease us into a false sense of security for sowing seeds and planting out crops.

The arctic blast has resulted in the broad beans sown in late February remaining tucked up beneath the compost – only one has poked its head above the surface and even then done very little since.  I’ve sown another batch and I hope they will show their heads very soon.

I delayed sowing much else during the cold weather, but with fingers firmly crossed that spring has finally decided to make an appearance, a few of the flowers sown just a week ago have germinated. The cabbages and cauliflowers are popping through too.

I’ve learned many things since taking on my first allotment garden ten years ago. One is an allotment is never really finished and will always be a work in progress. It’s very easy for new allotment holders to become overwhelmed by the task in front of them and I urge those in this position to keep heart in the idea of what the plot can become.

Be practical and control and manage the development of the garden. I always see allotment development in stages and I plan each task before I arrive at the plot for the day. It’s surprising how soon things begin to take shape. There’s plenty more space to cultivate on my allotment and more raised beds to build too.

During April, I’ll sow a few more rows of the seeds already sown last month for successional harvests. I’ll now sow courgettes, pumpkins and squash and a few rows of carrots too. The month sees a quick succession of seeds going into the soil but I’ll keep an eye on the weather forecast for the inevitable cold snap and tuck any seedlings safely under fleece.

Did the ‘Beast did from the East’ affect you and your allotment plans? Let me know in the comments below.

Richard Chivers

Richard Chivers is passionate about growing fruit and vegetables on his family allotment garden. His blog, Sharpen your Spades aims to inspire anyone to pull on their wellies and join in the movement to grow their own. You can also follow Richard on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.