We’ve seen the state the supermarkets can get to when we panic, so to avoid putting that pressure on the supply chain let’s do what we can for ourselves from our own garden spaces.
Grow Your Own in Small Spaces
Not everyone has the luxury of acres of space to grow rows and rows of produce, particularly for those who live in the city and in flats. Luckily some plants don’t require too much space, so a balcony may well be sufficient.
April is the perfect time to plant strawberries, they’re as easy to grow as they are rewarding with flavour. For those limited on space strawberries can be grown in hanging baskets, much like trailing tomato varieties, which has the added benefit of easy picking once the fruit is fully formed.
Once planted you’ll want to water frequently while the plant is establishing, avoiding wetting the crowns and the fruit as this can encourage disease.
Feeding the plant during its growing season with a potash liquid feed like Tomorite approximately every 7 – 14 days.
Once fruit appears lay straw (hence the berry’s name) or a strawberry mat under the fruit to keep the fruit clean. We also suggest netting where possible to avoid losing your crop to the birds.
You’ll expect to harvest from June – September depending on the variety.
Potatoes are another crop which you can grow easily in small spaces by planting in a potato grow bag. By the start of April you should be concentrating on chitting and growing your Second Earlies, followed by your maincrop at the end of the month.
Second Earlies will be ready to harvest from about 13 weeks after planting and maincrop will be ready from 20 weeks after planting. For our full potato growing guide click here
Herbs is an easy way to begin your grow your own adventure, as they can be grown in containers (in cases like mint you will find it will take over unless grown in pots). This has the added benefit of being able to grow by your back door, making nipping out whilst cooking a speedier process.
With all container growing you can move the container depending on where the sun hits, but extra attention to watering and feeding is needed. Mint, chives, chervil and coriander like a good soaking, whereas sage, basil, bay, thyme and rosemary don’t like wet roots so compost with good drainage is required.
Sowing this Month
A lot of veg can now be sown this month but to continue with the idea of growing in containers we’ll share our favourites.
Carrots are a great crop for containers, you’re guaranteed to have stone-free soil for a start, which is the main cause of forked carrots. Choose a short, round variety or harvest longer varieties as baby carrots. Make sure to avoid over-crowding when sowing, cover with a thin layer of compost and water well. Position your container in a cool greenhouse or outdoors.
Radish are a useful crop to grow, not only are they suitable for containers and easy to grow, but they are a good “catch crop”, meaning they grow quick enough to fill gaps between crops. Simply sow directly into your container (select a short, round variety) every 4 weeks for a continuous supply throughout the summer.
As a kitchen staple, we suggest salad leaves for being quick and easy to grow. Much like the radishes, if sown in regular intervals you will have a constant supply potentially until autumn.
When it comes to picking the container you will need something with a minimum depth of about 10cm so a window box would be a great space saving choice.
Simply fill your container with multipurpose compost, sow the seeds – avoiding over-crowding, cover with a thin layer of compost and water. Position in a cool greenhouse or outdoors.
Citrus plants will need feeding with a citrus feed and like all houseplants the watering will need to start to increase.
The morning’s still have a chill to them despite the days being filled with glorious sunshine, so take the time before you turn in for the night to protect your soft fruit from frost damage by fleecing. The early spring growth, flowers and buds are particularly vulnerable to frost, so a little care now will have great benefits later on in the year.
It might be too late to plant our bare-root fruit trees but you can continue to plant soft fruit like raspberry and blackberry canes before the hot weather arrives.
We hope you’re finding spending more time at home as the start of a new learning experience with edible benefits and we’d love to see the progress of your gardening projects. So make sure to share photos on our social media and we will see you shortly.