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Rooko's April Top 10 Tryouts & Tips

Sorry for the later than normal posting of this months tips but due to the continuing wintery U.K. weather conditions many gardeners are being delayed with their monthly to do lists so far this month.

1. Although weather conditions for the U.K. are supposed to improve next week, if you have access to snow free planting areas it is still a good idea to cover them with plastic sheeting, cardboard, cloches or other materials to help the soil warm more quickly, if we get some sun that is. (Lidl are currently selling cheaply priced cloches).

2. We are still experiencing heavy overnight frosts here in Somerset, so any planting areas that require digging or rotavating will benefit from the frosts action, helping to kill bugs and break down the soils surface.

3. Easter weekend was the traditional time to start planting Potatoes in U.K. If you are planting them in cold soil conditions they will stay dormant under approximately (40 F) (4.4C).

4. If you are growing plants from seed indoors, check the moisture of the soil/compost regularly, especially if your central heating is still running??

5. Keep feeding the garden birds.

6. Cinnamon can be used as a fungicide, it can be mixed into your potting compost to help prevent damping off of seedlings.

7. Black bin liners filled with paper or cardboard make good insulators either on the ground or around plants.

8. If you have Broad-leafed docks growing in your allotment/garden, be aware that they are a host for Potato eelworm and several none-beneficial insects.

9. Some plants to prune in Springtime: Asters, Astilbe, Butterfly bush, Campanula, Chrysanthemum, Delphinium, Dianthus, Hosta, Lavender. 

10. Some more tips for April (that is if the U.K. weather is "average").

1. Sow the following: Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chard, Kale, Kohl-Rabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Rocket, Spinach. Potatoes, Onion and shallot sets.
2.  Artichokes and Asparagus can be planted.
3. Outdoor cucumbers & tomatoes can be sown & kept in the warm.
4. Plant French Beans, Lettuce & Sweetcorn under cloches.
5.  This is a good time to plant Strawberries.
1. Keep an eye on the weather as ground frost is still likely this month.
2. Keep areas of ground warmer with fleece/polythene to aid later planting.
3. Weeds are starting to appear, so hoe them off before they set seed.
4. Now is the time to erect barriers around your carrots 2 to 3ft high to combat the dreaded Carrot fly. Alternatively cover your Carrots with fleece but ensure all edges are well covered with soil. Keep Carrots earthed up.
5. Plant Onions between rows of Carrots or other plants that might repel the Carrot fly.
6. Slugs & snails will be coming out now. Combat them by: Keep the soil hoed and loose, use beer traps, spread coarse grit, pine needles, straw, sawdust around your plants.


  1. I don't think much puts off carrot fly - we have found that covering ours is the best bet.

  2. I think you are correct about covering Carrots. We've had a couple of bad years with Carrot fly. I did have some excellent Carrots grown in barrels last year. The barrels were covered with polythene sheeting until 2 or 3 weeks after they germinated. I also had some under cloches, problem was when the weeds grew they actually lifted the base of 1 of my cloches out of the soil which was sealing the edges.

    1. Weeds can be a problem under cover and also you need to remove coverings to weed. This is why we grew our carrots through weed fabric last year which seemed to work well.

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Rooko's April Top 10 Tips & Tryouts

1. Clear away spent flower heads from spring flowering bulbs such as hyacinth & daffs. Don't cut away or discard the foliage as it will replace the bulbs energy for its next flowering.

2. If the weather in your area has been dry enough lately and your soil is not wet and heavy, now is the time for some rotavating/digging, adding compost/manure as required to the soil.

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