At the start of the year, we sent out a membership survey to help shape the Derbyshire Benevolent Trust’s Healthy Lifestyles project. An overwhelming number of you responded, and reported a strong interest in and understanding of health and wellness issues. We know that this is an area which is important to DBT members, so we will continue to provide articles to inspire you to live your best life. We also found that a significant proportion of members would like to be a part of a community growing project organised by the Trust.

When the survey was published, it was hoped that coronavirus restrictions would have been lifted early enough for us to break ground on a community garden project, but that has not been the case. Instead, for 2021, we have set the DBT community growing project in motion by providing members who registered their interest with some seeds to grow at home, and we will be sharing their growing progress throughout the year.

If you’re already a keen vegetable gardener or just getting started with your vegetable patch, you can join in the fun by sharing pictures of what you are up to with us at

What can you grow in April?

April is your last chance to sow these seeds, otherwise you will need to buy plants from a garden centre:

  • Tomatoes
  • Chillies
  • Aubergines

April is also the perfect time to start sowing these seeds indoors or in a greenhouse:

  • Courgettes
  • Winter squash
  • Cucumber
  • Leeks
  • Lettuces
  • Peas

And it is already warm enough to sow these seeds directly outside:

  • Beetroot
  • Radishes
  • Carrots

What’s in season now?

We are still in the “hungry gap” – the time of year when last year’s produce has run out and this year’s is only just beginning to grow – but April is the time when some really delicious foods start to become available.


Here in Derbyshire, we are not too far away from the famous Rhubarb Triangle in West Yorkshire, where they specialise in producing forced rhubarb. Forced rhubarb is delicious stewed down on its own, on top of pancakes or as part of a crumble for a treat!


Locally grown asparagus only has a short, spring-time season so grab some quickly! I always like to split the spears in two and griddle them until cooked through.


Packed with a wide array of vitamins to help support your body, cauliflower is abundant at the moment and I don’t think you can beat a bit of cauliflower cheese on the side of your roast dinner.

Kale and purple sprouting broccoli

These are two fantastic vegetables for your health – purple sprouting broccoli is full of vitamins A and C, and kale contains potassium to help maintain a healthy blood pressure level. Make sure you steam them to get the highest benefit from them, and the best taste!

Broad beans

Broad beans are just coming into season and, along with wild garlic, are the star of the recipe we are sharing with you this month. Some people hate the taste of broad beans, but that’s because they don’t double pod! Make sure you take them out of their slightly bitter white shells too when using them in dishes like risottos or in pasta.

Nettles and wild garlic

The days are getting longer and warmer and now, as you get outside for your daily exercise, you can also bring home your dinner! New nettles and wild garlic are abundant at this time of year and make a delicious soup or salad. Just make sure you forage responsibly by only taking what you need, never pulling the roots of a plant up, and giving everything a really good wash when you get home.

Don’t forget to check out this month’s recipe to incorporate the best of this month’s produce into your diet. This time we’re making a broad bean and pea risotto with wild garlic pesto.