April is one of the busiest months in the vegetable garden. There is
little time left to reflect – only time for getting the garden ready for
another fruitful year.
There are quite a lot of vegetables that can be sown in April – both
indoors in modular trays and outdoors – directly into the ground. The
next 6 weeks are the most demanding for any vegetable gardener as we
have to carefully mind all our little seedlings until they are ready to
plant into the garden while at the same time getting the ground ready.
There will be no more weekends off.
In this article you’ll find:
- What to do in your vegetable garden in April
- Upcoming courses and workshops
- Job opportunity
Gardening Jobs in April
In April you should try to have all the beds prepared even if you don’t
plant anything yet. This allows you to control the weeds before the
crops go in. Give the prepared beds a sprinkle of seaweed dust and rake
it in. Keep an eye out for slugs. They are starting to get busy.
The soil is starting to warm up but it is still far too early to sow
directly outside for most crops (with a few exceptions of course).
However you will be very busy sowing seeds indoors and cluttering up
your windowsills or filling your greenhouse with seed trays.
Outdoor sowing and planting:
The only vegetables I sow directly outdoors in April are early peas, radish
and turnips. If you haven’t got enough propagation space you can sow
spinach and chard directly outside instead of raising it in modules. Mid
April is a good time to plant your maincrop potatoes. If you haven’t
planted your onion and shallot sets yet you can still plant them now. In
the warmer parts of the country you can sow your early carrots, early
beetroot and parsnips but I always have a lot more success with these if
I delay the sowing until May.
Seeds which can be sown indoors include winter leeks, cabbage,
cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, calabrese, kohlrabi, rocket, swede,
turnip, lettuce, perpetual spinach, chard, annual spinach and scallions
Indoor sowing with heat: Courgette, pumpkin, squash, French bean, runner
bean, basil and sweetcorn can be sown in small pots at the end of the
month and leave them on a warm south-facing windowsill. Planting
When the soil conditions are favourable you can plant out scallions, oriental salads and early cabbages. Harvesting
April is the beginning of the ‘Hungry Gap’ period where the winter
vegetables are running out and no new crop is ready. You may still have
a few root vegetables in store (potato, carrot, beetroot and parsnip)
and outside you may pick purple sprouting broccoli and some perpetual
spinach and chard.
Connemara Mussel Festival - Friday 28th April – Sunday 30th April
I have been to this amazing festival in the last four years. It’s in
one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland and with the nicest people.
It’s well worth spending a weekend away or even a week and then join the
gardening weekend in Renvyle House Hotel the following weekend, just up
There are lots of exciting events on during the weekend – have a look at their website: http://connemaramusselfestival.com/events/ http://connemaramusselfestival.com/traditional-gardening/
I will spend the afternoon making lazy beds and grow potatoes like they
were grown in the olden days. Manure or seaweed is spread onto the
grass and seed potatoes laid on top of it and then the soil is folded
over. This is such a unique Irish technique – nowhere else seen in the
world. It’s an ancient technique about to die out unless we keep up the
tradition. Quite a lot of old farmers and gardeners still have the
knowledge and the skill and will hopefully join us on the day. Each
county in Ireland had a slightly different technique and also different
spades. So please if you have some skills or knowledge from your area
in Ireland, please come and share it with others. Here in Connemara
there are plenty of remnants of how potatoes were grown a long time ago
visible on hills and mountains. Please bring along wellies and have a
go. If you have an old time spade I would love to see it as well.
Gardening Weekend in Renvyle House Hotel in Connemara – 5th-7th May 2017
There are a few spaces left for the gardening weekend at Renvyle House,
one of the most amazing places in Ireland. The course is run by myself
and Anja, the Head Gardener at Kylemore Abbey. The weekend include a
trip to Kylemore Abbey Walled Garden with Anja. More info on: http://greenvegetableseeds.com/gardening-weekend-renvyle-house-hotel-5th-7th-may/
Join Klaus Laitenberger, for presentations and practical demonstrations
on seed sowing and soil evaluation, a question and answer session, and a
walk through our amazing Organic Vegetable Garden. During this
comprehensive workshop, Klaus will outline the basics of soil fertility
management, propagation, crop planning and variety selection, as well as
how to prevent pests, diseases and weeds organically.
Time: TBA Course cost €30 pp or free to those who are unemployed (limited places)
Booking or enquiries via National Organic Training Skillnet.Phone:0719640688www.nots.ie Email firstname.lastname@example.org
This course is likely to be booked out soon.
Course at the Organic Centre, Co. Leitrim – 20th May 2017 A day course on ‘Healthy Soils and Growing Unusual Vegetables'
“Klaus will show you how to build fertility, maintain it and improve it. He will demonstrate how organic growing without pesticides and herbicides will produce healthy plants and healthy food. In the afternoon you will learn how
to grow the more unusual vegetables that everybody talks about like
Oca, Mashua, Yacon, Lentils, Amaranth, Quinoa as well as some unusual fruits such as Sea Buckthorn and rosehips.
Gardener wanted at Irish Seed Savers
The Irish Seed Savers Association is a wonderful organisation and is
looking for an experienced gardener to help with the irvery important
and wonderful work – a great opportunity for any experienced gardener.
Environmental films at Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin
In conjunction with An Taisce and Christchurch, Dublin there was a
screening of the most amazing documentary “The Symphony of Soils”. It
was a real celebration about the wonders and miracles of what goes on
under our feet. It was also an eye-opener of what we are doing to this
About Symphony of the Soil
Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is
an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By
understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil,
water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the
complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also
examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in
agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific
research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging
environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring
esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an
intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil
creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy
I hope this documentary will be viewed by as many people as possible. You can buy a DVD on their website: http://www.symphonyofthesoil.com/
Award for NOTS
Congratulations to NOTS – The National Organic Training Skillnet based in Drumshanbo
“Leitrim based National Organic Training Skillnet was awarded the Best
Learning and Development Organisation (Network & Groups) in Ireland
at last Fridays (03/03/2017) Irish Institute of Training and Development
Awards, which took place in the Killashee House Hotel in Kildare.
National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) offer innovative learning and
support to Irelands expanding agriculture and food sector. Offering a
real enterprise led approach to businesses whereby they can access
bespoke training programmes to match their emerging skills needs which
will help develop and drive their enterprise forward.
More on: https://www.facebook.com/nationalorganicskillnet/
A forestry friend of mine asked me to give him a plug for his new
crowd-funding venture. He is a young and dedicated woodsman – in the
truest sense. His eyes light up when he even talks about trees:
“My name is Nick Wallis. I am a woodsman in the west of Ireland and I
specialise in native woodland restoration and establishment. I live with
my wife Kerry and 3 boys on a small holding in Co Mayo.
Unfortunately being grant based the forestry sector was one of the first
casualties of the crash in this country and with very little warning
the rug was pulled from under me in 2008.
I could not throw the towel in
and have tried hard to stay working in the sector in a very tough time
but at last there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel and i am
grateful i did not give up (thanks to the support both emotionally and
financially of family) though it wasn’t easy to keep those dark clouds
I want to grow my business of low impact forestry and conservation of
native woodland in this beautiful part of Ireland, by managing the
existing woodlands in a responsible manner thus ensuring that current
and future generations can improve their mental and physical well being.
the forest is also a working environment which provides us with a
durable raw material.
In order to do this I am undertaking to raise funds via a crowd-funding
campaign on GOFUNDME under the name THE CHOPPING BLOCK and hopefully I
can raise the required monies to help me grow and support my business in
the forestry sector. I would be grateful for any support (all donations
greatly appreciated) and with your help in spreading the word. In the
words of Thomas Fuller “he who plants trees loves others besides
Keep hoeing and raking to get a good tilth! Happy Gardening