Productive, Decorative, & Sensationally Flavoured Edibles to Grow from Seed in April!

April is a truly generous and forgiving time of year for gardeners.  This month provides us with numerous opportunities to grow an extensive range of exciting and exotic fruit and vegetables from seed.

Although there’s a wealth of seed choices on offer, not all of the unusual edibles we can grow are guaranteed to succeed in our variable climate and not every variety produces the best flavoured harvest.  To help you mitigate these risks and guide you towards productive and delicious edibles, I’m sharing some of my favourite, trialled and tested cultivars that I’ve grown from seed in April.  I’m certain these varieties will delight your taste buds and prosper in your gardens and allotments.  These magnificent edibles will produce decorative plants that’ll enhance your growing space, but most importantly they’re prolific growers that will generate substantial harvests of phenomenal tasting produce!

Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’

Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’ pictured inside my Vegepod on the 3rd July 2020.

‘Dragons Tongue®’ is a superb new rocket that produces handsome, maroon veined leaves with an intense peppery flavour.  The other edibles in this article must be sown in an open, bright and sunny (or partially shaded) site; however, I grew this plant successfully in deep shade.  ‘Dragons Tongue®’ rocket is very productive; plants flourish in containers of peat-free compost, or in any moist well-drained soil.

Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’ has a hot and peppery flavour and attractive maroon veined leaves. I grew this plant in deep shade; the markings may be more pronounced on older leaves or plants grown in a brighter situation.

Peas

I adore growing peas!  April is a great time to grow these wonderful vegetables.  A wide choice of pea seeds are available, from peas that grow just 10cm (4inches) tall, all the way through to plants that reach 2.5m (8ft) tall, and everything in between!

‘Rosakrone’ peas are climbing plants that will grow up to around 1.2m (4ft) tall. These peas need supports, you could use twiggy pea sticks, an open wire fence, or even a trellis.

Medium height and taller peas need to be supported.  I install supports that are a fraction taller than the eventual height of my peas first and then I sow my seeds.  Use twiggy pea sticks or a framework that provides plenty of footholds (from the base, all the way up to the top) for your plants’ tendrils to cling onto as they grow.  For taller peas, I favour using an open wire fence; my fences are rolled up and reused every year, they’re so useful.

I usually support peas using a section of open wire fencing, but tall sturdy twiggy sticks also work well – just make sure that your supports are a little taller than the eventual height of your pea plants. I’ve been using this section of fence every year for many years.

Pea ‘Rosakrone’

‘Rosakrone’ peas form decorative plants, with dainty sugar-pink and soft white coloured flowers.

‘Rosakrone’ peas (Real Seeds) grow up to around 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft) tall.  These peas have dainty, sugar-pink and soft-white flowers; the blooms are ever so pretty.  This variety produces small to medium sized, green pea pods that can be enjoyed young as mangetout or allowed to fully develop into small but deliciously sweet peas.  Pea tendrils, stems, and leaves are also edible, they have a fresh pea-like flavour.

‘Rosakrone’ plants produce pea pods that can be eaten as mangetout (when the young pea pods are eaten); alternatively, allow the pods to fully develop when they’ll produce sweet tasting peas.

If you find reaching down to harvest peas can be challenging, ‘Rosakrone’ would suit you very well; as the peas are produced along the very topmost growth of the plant, which eliminates the need for bending at harvest-time.

‘Rosakrone’ holds its peas in crowns held along the topmost growth of the plants. This pea’s name comes from the rosy colour of the plant’s flowers and the crown shape of the plant’s harvest.

Mice find every type of pea simply irresistible; they’ll devour pea seeds and chew through the emerging stems of pea seedlings, often digging the plants up and stashing them somewhere nearby.

Protect your peas by safeguarding your row of seeds with a double layer of chicken wire.  You’ll need enough chicken wire to procure a tunnel that will comfortably cover your seedlings and sufficient material to insert into the soil to form a robust, mouse-proof barricade.  Use chicken wire with the tiniest holes you can find; place two layers over each other, with their gaps misaligned, thereby creating one covering of wire, with even tinier holes.  Remember to cover the entrances to your pea tunnels, too.  Once your pea seedlings have grown and aged a little, the mice will lose interest, but this protection is necessary for at least their first four weeks of growth.

To deter mice from plotting to steal your peas you could try using mint, as mice dislike the scent.  Place a pot of mint next to your peas or use a few drops of mint oil as a deterrent.

Watermelon ‘Little Darling’

Watermelon ‘Little Darling’ produces mini rugby ball shaped fruits filled with sensationally sweet and crisp, pink flesh.

Last year, ‘Little Darling’ watermelons were the absolute stars of my Melon Trial!  I dislike supermarket watermelons; however, my home-grown ‘Little Darling’ watermelons were a revelation, producing the sweetest melons I’ve ever tasted!  Each mini rugby ball shaped fruit is filled with delectably crisp and sensationally sweet, blushed flesh.

Watermelon ‘Little Darling’ produces these mini rugby ball shaped fruits formed from deliciously sweet and crisp, sugary flesh.

Watermelons require warm temperatures of 18-25C (65-77F) for germination; so, you’ll need a glasshouse, conservatory, or a particularly bright and sunny windowsill to grow these seeds.  Forget this nonsense of sowing two seeds in one container and discarding one – what a waste!  Instead, sow one ‘Little Darling’ seed in each small pot of peat-free compost.  Re-pot your plants regularly, as they grow and plant outside when all risk of frost has passed.

Don’t forget to protect your plants from slugs and snails!

For more gardening advice for April, please click here.

To see the results of my Compost Trials, please click here.

For information on growing a wide range of vegetables, please click here.

For information on growing fruit, please click here.

For more articles on edible plants, please click here.

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