April 9th 2016 Donegal
April in the vegetable garden.

Well what can I say about that. As I type here in my nice warm kitchen, my brother in Donegal is after sending me this photo of light snow . Great.

I have pea plants in my raised bed since last week where I nearly got sunburned doing it.
The Irish weather hey?, sure you cant live with it and we cant do without it.

My little baby peas. 
So what advice can I give you? Firstly dont be listening to so called experts like me quoting from the back of seed packets and books on when to sow etc because with the strange way our cold breezes come in to Ireland its hard to predict when its the right time. You are on your own here. All we can give you is the stories from our experience of where we went wrong. And it does go wrong and when it does , who cares. Start again.

Gardening is first and foremost supposed to be a hobby. Its supposed to be fun. Its not supposed to involve organised secret meetings making up plans for how to get all our gardens into these perfect pinterest style ones that the world shares daily. Hell most gardeners can get a kick just looking out their window to see a lupin popping its growth out of an old pot that the dogs had knocked over.
What am I trying to tell you?
Do not be under pressure to have the perfect garden. You dont have to have raised beds ( be great for me if you did though ;-)) ) . An old bucket will grow a few carrots or some lettuce. A black bin will get you a nice few spuds. Dont want to grow food? Well garden centers have tons of little pansies and violas that can brighten up the grayest of sheds. Screw a few old bean tins to the sides of fences and stick a few flowers in.

Ok I suppose I did say at the start April in the vegetable garden. What can you do? Do you own thing. These are a few of the things I will be doing. They may work and they may not. DONT SUE ;-)

Get to it.

 If you don't have a greenhouse use windowsills in the house, or create your own cold frame outside. Sheets of glass or clear plastic on some bricks is a start, as it keeps the rain off the seed trays/pots, and warms up the soil. Another way is to put trays and pots in a clear polythene bag, and put it in a sunny spot or under a cloche.

Plants may come on more quickly if you sow them in trays/pots this month rather than sowing then directly into the ground. You can then transplant them into open soil. The exceptions, are the root vegetables which like to be sown direct, but you may get away with planting them in biodegradable pots (or loo roll cardboard inners) under cover. When the shoots appear, transfer the whole pot into the soil.

Towards the end of April, you can sow everything directly outdoors. Hopefully if things warm up.

Seedlings that have been grown in trays or pots, or under a cloche, need to be `hardened off` by being given limited time out in the real world, With a cold frame - just open the lid. With a cloche - you can lift it off during the day, and return it at night. Seedlings grown inside should spend the day outside and then be returned inside, or be covered at night.

It is better to sow a little and often so that you can harvest over a longer period. Keep sowing crops like rocket, lettuce, radish, salad onion all summer long, you'll want a small amount over a long period.