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April is certainly the time for using the Dutch hoe regularly and often. Hoe
freely末just the surface, not deeply末between all growing crops and on
vacant ground on every favourable occasion. Try, if you can, to move all
ground at least every ten days when growth is active, so as to maintain a
loose surface mulch and keep down weeds.
Now here are some reminders for this month:末
the first three issues of the "Guide" you were reminded about getting all
your seeds in good time末your fertilisers, too, as well as pea and bean
sticks. One "seed" item not so far mentioned is swedes. Though you
can sow swedes as early as April, the Ministry's cropping plan, which
suggests two rows, recommends sowing in June. Swedes are often successful in
districts where it is not so easy to grow carrots, and the field varieties
resist the cold better than turnips.
Swedes are usually sown in mid-June in
the south, though in the north they may be safely sown earlier. More will be
said about swedes in a later Guide.
Have a look at your shallots. You may have planted them a
little too loosely and the weathering may have left them almost bare of
soil. Firm them in now.
Now a word or two about tomatoes. Of course, you won't think
of planting them out until the end of May or the first week in June; but if
you have not done so, you would be wise to put in your order for plants with
a reliable supplier. Be warned: don't
buy plants that you see for sale much earlier than they should be. You will
be disappointed if you buy them.
|| And what about Brussels sprouts? These need a long period of
growth. If you have not sown seeds in the seedbed and you intend growing
them, you should order your plants so that you are not caught napping when
you want to plant them out in May or June. And now is the time, if you have
not already done so, to clear away those old cabbage and other green
stumps that may be taking up ground that should be cleared and dug over
ready for a following crop. For one thing, these old stumps harbour pests;
but, even more important, if you let them stop until they flower, you may
well do harm by cross-pollination to the crops of the professional man who
is growing them for valuable seed.
Now for the seed-sowing jobs of the month, remembering that
a few days before sowing or planting (except on the seed bed) 1 lb. of a
good complete fertiliser末"National Growmore"* for instance末should be
scattered evenly over every 10 sq. yds. and raked in.