April is here, and Spring has truly sprung. With the arrival of warm, sunny weather, and time on our hands, it’s an ideal opportunity to look at what we can achieve outside – and many of you are already sowing fruit, vegetable and salad leaf seeds.
There’s nothing like a fresh tomato. If you want to grow your own tomato plants, it’s best to start seeds off as soon as possible this month. If you don’t have seed trays or tiny pots, you can use egg boxes, paper cups or loo roll tubes instead! Just make sure they have a nice light spot on or near a windowsill. (Many of these makeshift cardboard pots can also be added to your compost when you’ve finished with them, just make sure they are free of tape, stickers or labels.) You will need larger pots to grow the seedlings on from – but remember these can be any sort of container as long as there are holes in the bottom for excess water to drain away. Seedlings should be carefully planted into 9cm diameter containers once two true leaves have formed. The plants need moist soil but don’t soak them.
You can also grow peppers, aubergines and cucumber plants from seed, indoors, but they will need to remain under cover – there are some vegetables which can now be started outside and remain where they are planted. These include peas, beans, and root vegetables. If you don’t have a garden but have a light, sheltered space outdoors, you can create a container kitchen garden. Consider vertical planting, hanging baskets (perfect for trailing tomato plants such as Tumbling Tom and strawberry plants), and window boxes too – just remember to keep the soil moist, as it will dry out more quickly.
We have already had a very dry couple of weeks with more lovely sunshine forecast. If you have a water butt this might have already run dry. Rather than resorting to the hose, consider saving your washing up water for use in the garden and collect the water you would otherwise waste while running the tap until it is hot.