The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

This Month in your Garden – April

Ready to start planting…

It’s a busy month for the gardener and time to catch up if bad weather in March has delayed your progress. It’s time to sow hardy annuals outdoors where they are to grow and early in the month you can sow annual climbers.

Clearing up borders is a good place to begin if you haven’t already done so. Cut away dead growth from last year’s herbaceous plants, dig out weeds and spread some compost on the surface, then lightly fork it in. Now you’re ready to start planting new herbaceous plants and a trip to the garden centre for summer flowering plants such as achilleas, delphiniums and lupins will give you a mass of colour.

Lawn Care Guide – April

Dealing with weeds

Usually this month you will be mowing more frequently, lowering the height of the mower blades with each successive cut.

Now is the time for a good dressing of a proprietary lawn fertiliser or, if weeds are appearing, a mix of fertiliser and weed and moss killer such as Scotts Evergreen Complete 4 in 1, either in granular or soluble form.

You could do the old fashioned fertiliser mix of two parts of sulphate of potash, one part of sulphate of ammonia, two parts of dried blood, fish and bone meal to twenty parts of silver sand and apply at a rate of 6oz per square yard but there is a danger of the nitrogen content scorching the lawn. A ready mixed fertiliser gives a controlled release over a longer period.

Lawn Care: Questions & Answers

Q. Should I mow the lawn before applying a feed and weed product?

The Vegetable Plot – April

Planning late crops

The month begins with more successional sowing. Radishes and mustard and cress can be sown outdoors in a warm, sheltered place. Two further sowings of lettuces and spinach at fortnightly intervals can be followed with a sowing of broad beans later in the month. Most importantly you should have two sowings of peas but use a second early or maincrop variety for sowing after mid April.

If you want cauliflowers, savoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts for Christmas the seeds need sowing in April. Celery trenches are best prepared now to allow manure and soil to blend together before planting in June. Well-rotted manure or decayed vegetable refuse mixed with the soil will give the celery a good start. A shallow trench provides the young plants with protection and easy watering in dry periods.

The Big Glut Recipe – April

April lamb chops with chard and chickpea stew (inzimino)

Swiss chard is in season from October to April and June to August. This is a quick recipe for four with griddled spring lamb chops, served with Florentine style inzimino, which is technically any dish served with lots of vegetables. The River Cafe does a luxury version.


  • A head of Swiss chard
  • 4tbsp olive oil 
  • Half an onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 1x 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1x 440g tin chickpeas, drained
  • A char-grilled red pepper, remove the skin and seeds, cut
  • 8 lamb cutlets
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley finely chopped