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HOUSE & HOME GIY (Grow it Yourself)

Things to do this month I

f poor weather in March has hampered your outdoor work, then April is the month

to catch-up. The key words for April are weeds and slugs. You need to stay on top of them both. Check your early spuds regularly and ‘earth-up’ as required. Water your tunnel/greenhouse – things can get pretty warm on a nice sunny April day and seedlings will dry out quickly.

Sow Indoors: lettuce, tomato, pepper, chilli- pepper, cucumber, celery, celeriac, basil, leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, parsley, courgette, marrow, globe artichoke, beans, sweet corn and pumpkin. Outdoors: broad bean, onion sets, pea, beetroot, cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts, parsnip, spring onion, leek, carrot, radish, broccoli, turnip. Plant out cabbage plants when they are 15/20 cm tall into well prepared soil that has been manured.

Harvest Stored fruit and vegetables are likely to be a distant memory at this stage and new crops are only starting to trickle in which makes April a tricky proposition. The middle of this month might see the first asparagus and the first early spring cabbage. The other two star performers this month are purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb

by Michael Kelly

For more tips, information and support visit

Recipe - Chard and Smoked

Trout Bruschetta My search for things to do with my chard glut continues – I found this recipe on the New York Times website and thought it was great. This recipe uses the stems of the chard as well – these are nutritious and taste really good so don’t waste them. Serves 1-2.

Ingredients: • 2 tbsp butter • 250g Swiss chard • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • 2 garlic cloves, 1 minced, 1 cut in half •

Salt and freshly ground pepper

• 2 thick slices whole-grain or sourdough bread

• A few slices smoked trout •

Lemon wedges for serving

Directions: Cut the stems off the chard and wash the leaves. Cut the stems in small dice. Blanch the chard leaves in salted boiling water (or steam them) for one to two minutes until tender. Transfer

to a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop medium-fine. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Add the chard stalks. Cook, stirring often, until tender, five to eight minutes. Stir in the minced garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped chard leaves, and toss together for about a minute. Remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly toast the bread, and rub with the cut garlic. Brush with the remaining olive oil. Top with the chard, and press down with the back of a spoon. Use a fork to flake the trout, and place on top. Squeeze on a few drops of lemon juice, and serve.

April - jobs to do in the garden A

pril is a great month for gardening with blossoms on the trees and daffodils in flower. Spring should now

be in evidence throughout your garden. Expect the inevitable ‘April showers’, but the frequent sunny days and rising temperatures make it perfect gardening weather. Enjoy the gentle sunshine but don’t forget there’s lots to do! Many flower seeds can be sown this month both undercover and outdoors. Be careful with tender bedding plants as a late frost can still catch you out in April. Once they have finished blooming you should deadhead your spring flowering bulbs. Do not cut off the green foliage yet as these green leaves will continue to grow for a few more weeks and these provide the bulb with food for flowering next year. Lift and divide congested lumps of perennials. Tie in the new shoots of climbers. Now is a good time to mulch around plants, trees and

shrubs while the soil is still moist, this will keep down weeds and also help to retain moisture around their roots. There is still time to plant trees and shrubs. However by mid-April it will be a little late to be transplanting large trees or shrubs. This is also a good month for pruning or shearing your evergreen trees. Remove all dead, diseased or undesirable wood, however do not prune back into the bare wood part of the plant. April is a good month to sow new grass seed or lay new turf. If you didn’t do it last month you can still remove thatch from your lawn and aerate it this month. Lawns should soon be in full growth and will need regular mowing and feeding to keep them at their best throughout the spring and summer. Frequent mowing encourages dense growth but be careful not to have your mower blade set too low. The application of a spring fertilizer should perk up the lawn and improve its overall colour

and appearance. If there is moss present use a fertilizer with moss-killer included in it. Make sure you keep feeding the birds in your garden. April is also an ideal month to get that garden decking or patio done that you have always wanted. By getting your outdoor space sorted early in the year you will get the full use out of it over the summer months and all the sunny days (hopefully) we are sure to get can be spent in comfort outside.

Martin Doyle

Home and Garden Creations T: 087-6524421


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