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The Garden Coach: April

PUBLISHED: 12:49 29 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:55 29 April 2014

Purple Mange Tout

Purple Mange Tout

Archant

Getting the vegetables growing

Spring is a great time to flex those green fingers and get vegetable growing. You don’t need a large kitchen garden, as most vegetables will grow quite happily in containers with regular feeding and watering.

One of my favourite veg is the easy mangetout. I’m particularly keen on the Shiraz variety, a relatively new purple mangetout that can be found online or in garden centres. It’s a win-win vegetable. It has pretty white and purple flowers followed by deep royal purple pods. The pods can be eaten raw in salads, or steamed. Their fresh sweetness puts them well ahead of supermarket-bought peas. They also have superfood credentials in abundance being rich in iron, calcium, fibre and A, B and C vitamins.

All that’s needed to get them started is to push a few peas into some well-dug soil mixed with garden compost or well-rotted manure. They will germinate in just a few days. As they get taller, give them a little support with twigs or canes and water regularly. Planting just a few peas every 10 to 14 days will ensure you have peas for picking throughout the summer. So go sow!

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APRIL GARDEN TIPS.

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Sow easy long-flowering summer annuals like cosmos, poppies, nicotiana and salvia into borders or seed modules.

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Plant seed potatoes in a well dug sunny bed. ‘Earth up’ growth with soil as it emerges to prevent frost damage. Keep well watered for maximum yields.

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Weed and feed lawns with a granular or liquid treatment - essential for the perfect lawn. Improve drainage on mossy patches by forking.

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Tackle perennial weeds like bindweed, ground elder and creeping buttercup by carefully teasing out the plant and roots wherever you see them. Do not compost!

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Tackle grubby patios and driveways with a pressure washer and a stiff brush for a smart result and good exercise.

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Judy Shardlow is a Herts-based gardening coach 01438 833858 heartwoodgardencoaching.co.uk

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