Although we’ve experienced more snow this winter than in recent years, spring has finally sprung and April’s the month to get out to your new vegetable patch and start sowing. If you haven’t prepared your ground yet, have a look at our useful guide to help you get started Be mindful of the weather though, as frost can still scupper your plans. Many crops will need TLC in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill before they can be planted outside. Here’s some of our recommendations for the best crops to start with.
Beetroot is an ideal crop for beginners as all you need is fertile, well-drained soil (or a simple container) and a packet of seeds. Bear in mind that you may just need to thin out the seedlings (re-space them) once they are a few centimetres tall.
Did you know? Beetroot contains betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used in other forms to treat depression.
Radish is fast growing, and also great for beginners. Sow your seeds outdoors and you’ll soon have your first crop of the season.
Did you know? Radishes are a great low-calorie snack; one cup of sliced radishes has just 19 calories.
Tomatoes should be sown indoors at this time of the year, ready to transplant outside once the weather warms up. Don’t leave it too late in the month to sow these, or the plants won’t have a long enough growing season to flourish.
Did you know? Tomatoes originally came from Peru, where their Aztec name translated to “plump thing with a navel”.
Courgettes are not keen on the cold, so sow these indoors and keep them in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill until there’s no more danger of frost. The same applies to marrows, squashes and cucumbers – other members of the curcurbits family.
Did you know? A courgette has more potassium than a banana.
Lettuce is another crop that needs some initial warmth, so for optimum results sow your seeds in trays or module trays and keep them undercover.
Did you know? Lettuce is part of the daisy and thistle family.
Carrots and other root crops can be planted outside, but make sure you’ve removed all of the stones from the soil so that they can grow straight. The soil must also be kept moist for good germination.
Did you know? 87% of a carrot is water.