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What to sow and grow in April
With sunshine and showers, April's the time for getting your garden ready!
April kickstarts our gardens back into life, with its winning combination of sunshine and showers. On a fine day it can feel like the weather has truly turned - although Jack Frost may still pay the odd visit.
Flowers to sow and grown
Want a spectacular sunflower show this summer? Then get planting!
Image: Marie C Fields
Here are flowers to sow and grow in April
In the greenhouse / indoors
• Sow in pots indoors or direct sow into garden borders. sunflowers
• Sow now. Once all risk of frost has passed, plant them out into poor soil for the best flowers - richer soil will produce more foliage and less blooms! nasturtiums in pots and modules
• Finish sowing petunia seeds under cover this month, to ensure the plants reach a good size in time for the summer.
• Sow scabiosa seed under cover now. They’ll attract bees and butterflies to your garden and will also make great cut flowers.
• Sow marigolds in warmth to brighten up your summer bedding.
• Plant up summer hanging baskets with plug plants and keep them under cover in a heated greenhouse until all risk of frost has passed.
• Finish sowing summer bedding plants such as salvia, ageratum and zinnia this month, to ensure a vibrant display this summer.
• Continue to sow under cover - take care not to expose them to frost. half-hardy annual seeds
Direct sow outdoors
• Direct sow wildflower seed mixtures - they're great for bees and butterflies, and they add wonderful colour too.
• Direct sow outside or in pots or hardy annuals . trays
• Continue to plant herbaceous perennials .
• Plant forced flower bulbs (such as hyacinths and daffodils) into borders, once they’ve finished flowering.
• Plant or pot on any hardwood cuttings taken last year.
• Add any necessary supports to plants now for them to grow up through. Adding supports later is more difficult and can damage them.
• Plant Lilies grow really well in containers and you can move them around your patio or into gaps in borders as they come into flower. lily bulbs in pots.
Herbs & Vegetables to sow and grow
Want to grow your own salad? Start by sowing tomato seeds indoors.
Here are your herbs and vegetables to grow this month:
In the greenhouse/indoors
• Prick out seedlings into pots or modules for growing on as soon as they have their first true leaves.
• Start to sow indoors, ready to plant out after all risk of frost has passed. If you're struggling for growing space buy ready-grown tomato seeds . Take a look at our tomato plants for inspiration. tomato selector guide
• Sow aubergine seeds under glass now for growing in the greenhouse or transplanting outdoors later on.
• Sow basil seeds in warmth to protect them from April frosts.
• Finish sowing celery and celeriac seeds under glass.
• Start to sow courgette, marrow, squash and pumpkin seeds under cover.
• Sow cucumbers and gherkins towards the end of the month, sowing the seeds in individual pots or modules in the greenhouse.
• Start kale seeds now under glass, or directly into seedbeds outdoors.
• Try sowing lettuce in module trays under glass for transplanting in the garden later. Alternatively sow lettuce seeds outside and thin out the seedlings.
• Sow perennial herbs - such as rosemary, sage, thyme and lemon balm - in the greenhouse.
• Sow runner beans and French beans under cover at the end of the month, sowing individually into module trays.
Direct sow outdoors
• Direct sow calendula seeds now - they are ideal for the vegetable garden, attracting insects and providing edible flowers.
• Try growing comfrey in a neglected corner of the garden - it’s a rich source of nutrients and is great used as a fertiliser or for mulching.
• Direct sow for a long-lasting addition to your vegetable plot. globe artichokes
• Plant out Jerusalem artichoke tubers this month.
• Sow directly into well-prepared seedbeds. beetroot seeds
• Sow broad beans directly into the ground for a delicious summer crop.
• Start sowing Brussels sprouts, calabrese and broccoli directly into seedbeds.
• Direct sow summer and autumn cabbages, such as 'Greyhound', into well-prepared beds.
• Sow cauliflower seeds outdoors towards the end of the month.
• Sow chicory seeds directly into seedbeds now.
• Sow directly into the ground or in containers indoors. herbs such as chives, coriander, dill and parsley
• Direct sow carrots in rows outdoors, making sure the soil remains moist for good germination.
• Try sowing kohlrabi outdoors for something more unusual - it will be ready in as little as 8 weeks after sowing.
• Finish sowing leeks in their final positions outdoors.
• Direct sow some pak choi outdoors for a taste of the orient.
• Sow parsnip seeds outdoors now. Sow 3 or 4 seeds every 20 cm, and thin to the strongest plant.
• Start off sweetcorn seeds in modules, for planting out after all risk of frost has passed.
• Sow sweet-pepper seeds in the greenhouse for bountiful summer crops.
• Sow peas directly into the ground, or start them off in modules if mice are a problem. Stagger sowings over several weeks, allowing about 20 plants per person, for a longer harvest period.
• Sow radish seeds directly into the soil for your first salad of the season.
• Continue to sow spinach seeds in seedbeds enriched with plenty of organic matter.
• Sow spring-onion seeds in drills outdoors, for a quick crop to add to salads and stir fries.
• Start to sow swede seeds outdoors in a rich fertile soil.
• Try for a colourful crop - they even look great in flower beds! Swiss chard sown outdoors
• Try growing your own watercress in containers on the patio, making sure the container is sitting in 2-3 inches of water at all times.
For a delicious crop, plant your chitted potatoes outside
• Plant chitted potatoes outside in the ground or in potato grow bags. For more advice on this crop, take a look at our potato growing guide.
• Plant out asparagus crowns in well-prepared permanent beds.
• Plant out onion sets, shallot sets and garlic cloves for crops this summer. (Now is your last chance to order onion, shallots and garlic for spring planting.)
Fruit to sow and grow
Start your orchard by planting out pot-grown fruit trees.
Here are April's fruits to sow and grow:
In the greenhouse / indoors
• Sow melon seeds - they’re surprisingly easy to grow! Try sowing 'Orange Sherbert' in warmth, for a reliable crop that can cope with the British weather.
• Sow strawberry seeds in the greenhouse now.
• Plant out pot-grown fruit trees and bushes. It’s too late to plant out bare-root fruit trees for this year, but pot-grown varieties can be planted out happily.
• Continue to plant raspberry and blackberry canes before the hotter weather arrives.
Plant out strawberry beds, making sure you enrich the soil first with plenty of well-rotted manure. Place over your strawberry plants for earlier crops. cloches Keep one step ahead - what to order this month:
What to do in the garden archive