The Allotment Garden in early April

Jobs for the vegetable garden in early April

The garden is coming back to life

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Since January I’ve been grafting on my allotment plot. Digging, weeding, spreading manure, building paths, building a pond, and a whole host of other things. It’s finally looking the way I want it to and just in time since the perennials are regrowing.

Green shoots of raspberries, perennial onions, and new strawberry leaves are everywhere. Not only that, but my little pond is filled with tadpoles.

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Jobs for the vegetable garden in early April

Everything is starting to grow again, including the native Irises and Marsh Marigold

Frogs eat Slugs

Aside from it’s charm, I want my garden pond to be a productive space in the garden. And by productive, I mean full of frogs. Frogs eat insects and small slugs and having them in your organic garden is a bonus. I’ve spotted one adult frog living in my pond but it’s now completely full of tadpoles.

The adult frog, who I’ve named Steve, is small and can fit in the palm of my hand. For the babies to get to that size they need time and food — some of which I’ll need to bring in. Right now I’m sprinkling in fish food but they’ll also nibble on wilted lettuce that’s been chopped up and put in the water.

Jobs for the vegetable garden in early April

The tadpoles love to sit on this warm rock in the pond

The Garlic is Planted

I begin growing my garlic in early winter by planting cloves into modules in the greenhouse. You can plant them direct in the ground but our winters are wet and windy and starting them off this way gives them an easier start.

My full tips for growing organic garlic are here and the step I’m at right now is planting the developing plants in the garden. Their leaves are about six inches tall and they have healthy root systems just waiting to spread into the soil.

Jobs for the vegetable garden in early April

Planting out garlic

Growing on Garlic

I plant each plant at the same level that they’re growing and then let them get on with it. Over the next few months I’ll lightly weed, mulch, and water them but they don’t need much care aside from that.

If you’ve not started your garlic yet, you can still do it now, especially if you have a long growing season. Pop separated cloves into the ground about 1/2″ deep and about a foot apart. They’ll send out green shoots before you know it.

Harvest time is in June or when half the leaves are yellow. You dig them up, dry them in the sun, and then store them in a cool, dry place. I have about half of last year’s garlic still hanging in my garage.

Jobs for the vegetable garden in early April

A healthy root system on this garlic plant

Perennial Berries

Most berry plants and bushes are perennial — meaning that they grow again year after year. That’s handy because it saves you a lot of time each year and you can still rely on getting a summer crop of fresh fruit.

It’s now in April that I’m seeing the strawberries and raspberries start to grow new leaves. The Red Currants and Gooseberries are sprouting too and the Blueberries are not far along either.

There’s an amazing variety of low-maintenance fruit that you can grow yourself. Buy it in the shop and you can spend a fortune — grow your own and you’ll have more than you can eat for free.

Jobs for the vegetable garden in early April

Raspberry and Strawberry plants starting to re-grow

Seed Sowing at Home

Over the past week we’ve had almost summery weather and now we’re back to March temperatures. To give many of my crops the best start, I’m starting them off at home in my warm conservatory and unheated greenhouse. Bit by bit they’ll move out into the allotment garden and will transform it’s brown into green. Here’s what I’m sowing now:

Jobs for the vegetable garden in early April

A plastic tunnel helps protect young seedlings from the elements.

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