aster is the traditional time to get the maincrop potatoes planted. Any early varieties already in the ground and growing will need earthing-up and, if frost is forecast, protect the foliage with a double layer of garden fleece.
Courgettes, outdoor cucumbers, summer and winter squash, runner and French beans plus sweetcorn are all very tender. These will be planted after the last frosts (around the end of May) but four weeks before – i.e. now – is the time to start sowing these seeds indoors.
Last year, outdoor cucumber ‘La Diva’ was a great success for us on the allotment. These modern outdoor cucumbers don’t need training and are very prolific as you get lots of short cucumbers. Seeds from kingsseeds.com and moreveg.co.uk; young plants young plants from gardeners kitchen.co.uk will be in some garden centres in May).
Carry on sowing
Hardy veg such as beetroot, carrots, lettuce, spinach, radish, early peas and Swiss chard can be sown direct into prepared ground. Sow short rows every couple of weeks of your family favourites.
A sharp Dutch hoe will keep annual weed seedlings at bay.
Weed around fruit trees and bushes then feed and mulch. Rows of raspberry canes throw up suckers far and wide, these need removing.
If you have invested in fruit and a fruit cage, consult an RHS fruit pruning book so you keep them within bounds and productive. Frosts, windy and cold weather at blossom time can affect fruiting so be prepared to take action.