When to sow and what to sowDuring the month of April, the salad days of summer seem very far away. However, you can look forward to those days by starting to sow some vegetable seeds from the start of April onwards. The soil will have started to heat up slightly, so you can actually sow the vegetable seed outdoors without the need for a propagator. Lettuce, peas, radish, turnip and beetroot seeds can be sown outdoors in April.
Preparing the soil in your seedbedTo give the seeds the best chance for success you must prepare your seed bed correctly, firstly never work the soil while it is wet as this will spoil the structure of the soil and prevent germination. Start on a dry day by digging the sowing site to the depth of a garden fork, removing any roots, large stones and other debris as you do. Leave the soil to settle for a few dry days then tread the whole area lightly to break down any clods, follow this by raking level until the top layer is the texture of cake crumbs. Be careful not to over-rake the soil and reduce it to dust as after the first rainfall the soil may form a "cap" which germinating seeds will find difficult to penetrate.
Create a drill and cover the seedUse the handle of your rake or a length of plank to create a V-shaped drill. The depth of your drill will depend on the type of seeds you are using; a rough rule of thumb is to cover the seed with soil to about twice its size. Sow your seed evenly along the drill; your seed packet will have instructions advising you on the spacings and the sowing depth.
Finally, gently draw the soil over the seeds with a hoe or hand trowel and water with a fine rose watering can.
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