April at Bernaville

It might seem as if we’ve had every single April shower already throughout March but if there’s one lesson to learn over the last couple of years, it’s don’t rely on just rain! In springs of the previous few years we have experienced everything from scorching heatwaves all the way to snow so its not time to put away the horticultural fleece just yet. As this will be the month that most of you start sowing your seeds and tend to young plug plants, just be careful to protect them from a cold snap should one come along!

Tony’s top tip

With a focus on helping to grow more fruit and veg this month we are encouraging everyone to Get Growing! It is incredibly easy to grow your own fruit and vegetables, even just a few herb plants will make the world of difference to your meals and are an extremely cost effective solution to the rising cost of supermarket produce (we’re looking at you, herb pots from any major retailer!)

Whether you want to grow from seed or from a homegrown by Bernaville starter plant pack, there are a wide range of varieties to choose from. We recommend planning out a basic grid to ensure you have enough space for your chosen plants but remember, even the smallest spaces on a windowsill can grow salad leaves and herbs in a propagator. Plants like tumbling tomatoes and strawberries don’t need to be at ground level and can instead be planted into hanging baskets outside the front door!

Combination planting can help your vegetable plants to confuse pests and naturally deter them away from ruining your efforts. Classic methods include the “three sisters” which is corn, climbing beans and squash together with corn being planted first, then beans at the base, which uses the corn as a climbing support along with squash or pumpkin as a natural ground cover to prevent so many weeds growing.

Leeks (or any of the onion family) and carrots are also a brilliant combination as the onions overpower the carrots scent to its natural enemy – carrot root fly.

Make sure you plant in peat free compost and help them get started with some mycorrhizal funghi to establish themselves quickly as they grow. Regularly feed your plants throughout the summer, every two weeks unless specified and give them plenty of water once they start fruiting to guarantee a bumper crop.

Gift Idea

April is when our lovely native bee friends start to emerge and you may spot them on the blossoms this month! In celebration of these pollinators, our lovely team have curated their favourite bee products which make bee-autiful gifts:

Bee toiletries: There’s a buzz in the air! Heathcote & Ivory Busy Bees brings you vegan honey beauty with both skin-kind and bee friendly formulations and fragrance. Discover honey beauty without the honey! Thyme & Honey, Rose & Honey, Orange Blossom & Honey may include honey in the name, but there is no actual honey in the fragrances. The skin-loving formulations include moisturising bee balm flower extract and antioxidant-rich manuka leaf extract, the botanical benefits in our vegan honey beauty recipe. Now you can be extra bee friendly as every Busy Bees purchase supports the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the only charity in the UK dedicated to the conservation of bumblebees. Prices start from just £5.

Bee Gonks: A firm favourite for all ages, these fun and cheery striped gonks are guaranteed to brighten up your day. Prices start from an un-bee-lievable bargain at just £5.99!

Bee keepsakes: Give a memento for a perfect moment or just use them as an addition to the wrapping, these hanging ceramic keepsakes are sure to bring a smile to their faces. Choose from complimentary or cheeky phrases, there’s something for everyone!

Jellycat bees: Buzzing about, feeding the flowers, these cute critters are also featured in the accompanying jellycat books. Brynlee Bee £25, Honeyhome Bee £33 and books from £10.