March 19th, 2024

4 easy vegetables to plant in your garden this March and April

Spring is finally here, and in celebration of this much-awaited season, you could be looking at ways to improve your garden.

One lovely way to do so is planting vegetables. Not only could a small vegetable garden look delightful, but it could help to keep your family healthy during the summer and autumn months ahead.

If you have never planted veg before, you might expect that yielding a successful crop requires lots of money and years of growing experience – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. All you need is a little space, some low-cost containers, soil, and a few hours on a sunny day to complete the planting process.

Here are four easy vegetables to plant in March and April, and how to put them in favourable growing conditions throughout the summer too.

1. Onions

Onions are the staple of countless main meals, from soups to stir fries and everything in between. Growing your own means that you could incorporate this root vegetable into your cooking more easily and sustainably.

Spring-planted onions are usually ready for harvest in late summer to early autumn. A helpful way to grow onions is using “starters”, small bulbs that you can buy from most garden centres, which have a better chance of growing in your garden than tiny seeds.

To help your onion starters survive the early stages of the growing season, you’ll need:

  • A sunny corner of your garden
  • A container at least 45 cm deep and wide, or a one-metre patch of your garden
  • Rich, peat-free soil-based compost.

You can start your onions off in individual pots and keep them indoors if the weather is cold – if not, place your onion starters around 10 cm apart, pushing them around 2 cm into the soil so that their heads are still visible.

Over the summer, water your onions every two weeks if it’s dry, but stop watering them in late summer to prevent rotting. Harvest your onions around September and enjoy!

2. Carrots

Carrots are a delicious, colourful, vitamin-rich vegetable – and although the ones you grow in your garden might not look like perfect supermarket carrots, they will taste just as (if not more) delicious.

Most varieties of carrot can be planted between February and July, depending on where you are planting them and the facilities you have to protect them from the weather. If you’re sowing outdoors, it may be best to wait until April to ensure your carrot seeds are warm enough to grow.

To plant your carrot seeds:

  • Fill a large planting container or bed with multi-purpose compost
  • Sow your seeds a centimetre deep and at least six inches apart
  • Water your carrots regularly if they are grown in containers, but infrequently if they are grown in the ground.

Your carrots should be ready to pull up three or four months after sowing. Remember to protect your carrot plants by pulling out unwanted weeds regularly and covering the crop with mesh to prevent insects from harming their growth.

3. Lettuce

Lettuce is the ideal vegetable to have on hand in your garden – adding a salad to a lunch or evening meal will become so much easier and more cost-effective.

If you plan to sow your lettuce in early spring, it may help to begin growing them indoors. Plant your seeds in small pots according to the instructions on your seed packet – this will depend on the variety you have chosen – and start these plants on a sunny windowsill. Garden or multipurpose compost is ideal for lettuce.

Once the weather warms up and the plants have reached a reasonable size, you can bed them into the ground or container in your garden, although it may still help to cover with plastic tunnelling or fleece initially. Choose a section of your garden that has some shade, as lettuce will easily wilt in the hot sun.

As the weather warms, keep your lettuce plants watered very regularly and use mesh to prevent them from being eaten by slugs and other critters. If your lettuce plants flower, they will become extremely bitter tasting, so ensure to time your harvest correctly and keep them out of the midday sun.

Some lettuce varieties take just six weeks to grow, while others may take up to 14 weeks. Harvest according to your seed packet’s instructions and enjoy delicious, fresh lettuce all summer long!

4. Potatoes

If you enjoy chips, roast potatoes, mash, or even handmade crisps, why not try growing a potato crop in your garden?

Most types of potato can be planted in March or April, and may be ready for harvest between August and September. You’ll need:

  • Potato starters of your choice, such as Maris Pipers, which you can find in most garden centres
  • A raised bed, large container, or patch of well-prepared land at least one metre squared
  • Sandy, well-drained soil (too much moisture can cause the growing potatoes to rot).

Make sure to plant your starters at least 20 cm apart and 10 cm deep, and ensure you keep them in a sunny spot throughout the summer with semi-regular watering.

Enjoy harvesting your delicious potatoes in late summer or early autumn – these veggies are cheap and easy to grow, with reliable results even for first-time gardeners.

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