'Nothing tops it!' Monty Don shares April gardening task for a 'delicious' edible garden - 'it's the ideal time'

Monty Don / Lettuce

Monty Don shared his top gardening advice for April

Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 17/04/2024

- 11:34

The gardening guru explained why Britons should be sowing their lettuce seeds this month

Gardening enthusiasts will know that certain tasks are best kept for specific months.

According to beloved horticulturist Monty Don, now is the time to sow lettuce seeds in preparation for making a tasty salad.

Monty told his fellow gardeners: "I love the huge variety of vegetables that my garden can provide but nothing tops a simple salad of fresh leaves eaten minutes from gathering it from the garden.

"There is a crisp freshness to it that is the perfect combination of culinary pleasure and health. Add an omelette and good bread and butter and you have a meal fit for a king."

Lettuce in a colander

'Nothing tops a simple salad of fresh leaves eaten minutes from gathering it from the garden'


Gardening lovers can enjoy leaves from a variety of plants - think baby kale, spinach, rocket, mizuna, mibuna, young chard leaves, chicory, pea tips, and raw broad beans, not to mention "all the other vegetables that are usually cooked but also delicious eaten raw as part of a salad".

Monty said: "You can make a salad from all kinds of things but if you only have lettuce then you always have a salad.

"This is the ideal time to sow lettuce seed directly into the soil outside as the soil is now warm and they will grow fast - which is one of the secrets of really good lettuce."

Sowing lettuce seeds is a task to complete now rather than leave until the summer.

The gardening whizz explained that lettuce needs cool temperatures to germinate, and may become dormant if the soil is above 20 degrees.

He said that lettuce enjoys "rich soil with a good drainage". The experts at Oxford Garden Design shared their top tips for improving soil drainage. They said: "There are no shortcuts - it can be hard work to improve soil quality and takes years.

"However, if you get the soil right, you will be rewarded with strong, vigorous plants that resist pests and diseases and produce abundantly."

There are several kinds of lettuce you can grow and further varieties in these.

​How to improve soil drainage

  1. Remove large stones
  2. Make your own compost
  3. Make leaf mould
  4. Use a mulch
  5. Green manure as soil improver
  6. Encourage worms
  7. Create a woody canopy to improve soil drainage

The experts at the Royal Horticultural Society said: "When buying lettuce seeds, there is a huge array of varieties to choose from, both tasty and decorative - from crisp and crunchy to succulent and juicy, vibrant green to deep red, frilly or smooth, and much more.

"One of the joys of growing your own is the wide diversity of leaves, far greater than you can ever buy in supermarkets. You can also choose from various hearting types or fast-growing loose-leaf and mixed salads too."



Lettuce enjoys 'rich soil with a good drainage'


Hearting lettuces usually take three months to reach harvesting size and are best grown in the ground or large containers.

Loose-leaf lettuces, on the other hand, are perfect for growing in small spaces and containers.

According to Monty, the "secret" is to find the ones you like and can easily grow. The gardening guru concluded: "The line of least resistance always makes the most sense."

This comes as the gardening expert shared the April task that creates "one of the best and most fragrant of summer displays".

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