April/May in a Swaledale vegetable garden

Forget-me-nots in April in Healaugh

The weather is warming up, the light levels are rising and sowing has quickened pace. The polytunnel beds are being sown as soon as they are completed. So far, we have emerging seedlings of a selection of salads, beetroot, carrots, pak choi and dwarf French beans. Sown in pots on the staging are a selection of brassicas, peas, salads, French, dwarf and runner beans for planting out at around the end of May.

A variety of salads
Peas and lettuces ready on the staging for planting out, with French beans emerging in the bed below.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, aubergine, chilli, courgettes and squash thrive in the good light levels on the staging during the day but are still taken inside the house if the forecast is for a chilly night. Cucumbers had to be re-sown and are now permanently indoors for the time being as even the tunnel was too chilly for them during the day and they withered away.

The outside beds

The onions and garlic that we had begun in trays were planted out at the
beginning of April. We had to keep an eye on them for a week or two until they firmly rooted as the birds tended to pull them up. The first and second early potatoes were planted out in trenches in mid- April.

The onions and garlic were planted out in early April

At the end of April we planted a row of mizuna which had been started off inside in pots and, as it is quick growing, will be ready in a matter of weeks if the weather stays mild. A tray of peas, also begun indoors and already 8 inches tall, went outside and twiggy prunings from last year were used as pea sticks.

Peas with their twiggy sticks and rows of pea seeds for a successional harvest

As we aim to have a constant supply of vegetables, we also sowed pea seeds directly into the bed to be ready a couple of weeks later (and sowed some in pots inside the polytunnel as security in case the mice discovered them).

The first sowings were made of broad beans, root crops such as parsnip, carrots and beetroot and various brassicas such as calabrese, turnip and a variety of oriental leaf greens and cauliflower.

What next

Maincrop potatoes have been chitting and will be planted out at the very beginning of May. Successional sowings of legumes, brassicas and roots will be made every few weeks to maintain a constant supply of ready to harvest crops.

Reeth Community vegetable garden

As you can see salad crops have been planted and are growing strongly. The herb beds are green and healthy and are ready to be picked.

Chives ready in abundance
The lettuce seedlings will be quick to grow if the weather stays warm

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