April is the biggest sowing month of the year, everything from Med Veg like tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and melons, to staples like carrots, beans, spinach and more are during or even from April onward.
But then what? We tend to pause and sit on our laurels instead of continuing to plant to get a rolling basket of seasonal veg instead of a gap in supplies. So what can we sow that will see us through?
Spinach Viroflay – an Endangered variety dating to the 16th century, it is delicious, tender and lovely to eat both raw or cooked. Sow it from Feb to May for a summer harvest and then again from Aug/Sep to the end of October for a Nov/Dec crop. Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach - Arca del Gusto - Slow Food Foundation (fondazioneslowfood.com)
Swiss Chard white stalk – a very underrated vegetable in the UK and quite drought resistant too. Always cut, never pull Chard, and it will come back spontaneously in the spring. It usually produces in the spring and then carries on in the summer. Use the leaves like spinach, but the meaty stalks are the star of the show, parboiled, then toss them in a pan with butter.
Cut-and-come-again Lettuce – One of our packs makes about 40 of those salad bags you buy in the supermarket. The trick though is to sow a pinch every 3 weeks from April till the end of September and you will have a contact supply. Get home, cut, wash and serve. Simple as.
Cima di Rapa 40 – Aka Broccoli Raab, this vegetable is from Puglia and usually served with Orechiette pasta. It’s a summer broccoli you can sow from April till Aug and its ready in 40 days from seed to plate! Stagger the sowing each month for a constant supply from mid-May till the end of October.
Radish – Sow radish from now till the end of Jun for a summer harvest and then again from mid-Aug to the end of Sep for an autumn crop. Avoid the summer months as they can dry out and go ‘woody’. Juicy, spicy radishes are the taste of the summer.
Remember also, when you pull something up, sow something else in its place to ensure you have a constant supply for your kitchen table.