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What to plant now in April

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What to plant now is not quite straight forward as the weather is, again, fickle. The Sunday Gardener's Calendar for April  is full of ideas but they are tempered by the weather. Usually potatoes, especially earlies are planted in March and most of the planting is done by now. This year the weather has not been suitable and all the potatoes got planted together just recently. Calendars and planting charts are only ever a guide. The sweet peas germinated earlier in the year are bursting out of their pots as they have had the benefit of being grown under glass and are ready go to out. Sweet peas are hardy annuals, which means they will take the cold, as long as they are hardened off fully before planting out. Sweet peas are one plant you should not worry about planting out now.

What to plant when also depends on where you garden and the situation and shelter in your plot; there are no hard and fast rules. Well, perhaps only that no bedding plants should be out until all risks of frost  has passed. Garden centres are full of summer bedding, much is grown in perfect conditions and almost in flower; don't be fooled. Bedding comes after frost so that can be late May if you are further north, could be April if you are in a city centres such as London.

The books always say you can cover with fleece or cloche, I usually forget so its best not to plant out until sure of the conditions. Some veg are hardy, Broad beans, potatoes whilst the growth is below the soil, onions, and garlic, but others french beans, courgettes, squashes, and tomatoes all tender. Its tempting when the weather has picked and the garden centres are full to think about planting out. If you have space under glass its worth buying the plants and growing on, if not wait until May.

As always with gardening and the weather, you cannot be sure, the image below shows newly planted bedding plants with a good covering of hail and that was taken on the 1st of June during one of our better Summers. This year the weather has already been a challenge, all the vegetable growing is behind by several weeks and the growth in the garden is slow and we are still waiting for the burst of green which really is spring.  Gardening is about getting close to nature and shedoesn't do things by a book.



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