While the weather is cool, dig in a 5 or 6 centimetre layer of mulch in your beds and around your perennials, trees and shrubs. Use organic matter such as well rotted manure to prepare the earth for the busy growing season. You might also work in a general purpose fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or fish, blood and bone meal.

Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds and forking in plenty of compost. Cover prepared soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for planting. If you are feeling industrious now, build raised beds to take the bending out of growing vegetables later.

Once you are satisfied with your earthy preparations, the planting can begin.  At last your chitted potatoes may now go outside in the ground or in potato grow bags.

Many crops can be sown directly into the ground now including parsnips, cabbages and radishes.

Thin your carrot seedlings to achieve good-size carrots – do this in the evening when fewer carrot flies are around.

Harvest asparagus spears when they are no more than 18cm tall.

Water butts are a worthwhile investment for the season ahead.

Make sure bird baths and bird feeders are kept topped up, sparing a thought for the poor males who must sing ceaselessly from first light to keep their mate’s attentions from wandering.

 

“Well-apparel’d April on the heel
Of limping Winter treads.”

William Shakespeare

She who from April dates her years,
Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow; this stone,
Emblem of innocence, is known.

“Winter’s done, and April’s in the skies, 

Earth, look up with laughter in your eyes!”

       Charles G. D. Roberts, An April Adoration, 1896

“The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee, a clover, anytime, to him, is aristocracy.”

Emily Dickinson