April in my garden- what can I do?

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In most of the gardens in the northern hemisphere, April is the outdoor starting month. Snow is gone, the soil is warm enough to start our sowing season and trees are waking up from the long winter treating us with a beautiful show of little white flowers. 

But what can be done in our garden in April? Here is a “to-do list” for April. 

Note: this list is for gardens that are in the 7a-7b hardiness zone, with frost dates until May 15th. If your garden has a longer or shorter frost season your list can be very different.

In the garden

April is the time to prepare your garden beds:
-Make new raised beds if you have them, fix the boards on the old ones or if you have normal leveled beds it is time to dig the soil. 
-Manure the beds to give them new minerals and remove the weeds that grew over the winter and early spring.
– If the soil is too cold you can heat it by placing a foil on top of the bed. This will keep the moisture in place and heat the soil faster. Note: if you’re on a downhill garden the moisture will be only on soil crust, the rest will drain and if there is no rain you’ll need to water your beds.

-Also now is a good time to start placing your nets, poles, and other types of support for your May vegetables. There is lots of work in May and this will help you get organized better

If you did the early sowing now is the time to tend for your young plants
– Dig the little carrot seedlings, onions, and lettuce. 

– Place support for tall peas and dig them to give the roots some air

-If you still haven’t started sowing peas, carrots, onions, and lettuce now it’s a perfect time. All of these plants are resistant to mild frost and won’t suffer if you get below 0°C temperatures. 
– It’s time to start your first harvests of winter lettuce, spinach, and lamb’s lettuce

– Watch out for slugs and other pests now is their favorite time to start eating your young plants. Protect them if needed.

-Prune frost-sensitive trees like olives and figs, the pruned branches won’t freeze now.

In the greenhouse

-Now is a good time to sow quick-growing varieties like zucchinis, beans, cucumbers, and melons to give them an early greenhouse start, but it still won’t be too soon and they won’t start flowering by May 15th.
– Start moving your plants outside if the temperatures are high enough to start making them accustomed to outside conditions. 

– Sow the flowers that need an early start and are highly frost-sensitive
– Divide and transplant perennial seedlings

– Buy potting soil and keep it in the same conditions as the seedlings to lower the transplanting shock. 

In the flower garden

-Trim the winter bushes and flowering plants
-Remove deadheads from daffodils, hyacinths, muscari, and tulips, don’t cut the plant. Let the plant dry on its own to ensure a healthy bulb for next year.

– Divide primroses once they start flowering. The wild primroses will divide by themselves.
-Mulch your perennial plants before the new summer season.
– Sow new grass and start a regular lawn mowing
– Tie the climbing and standing roses, cut the branches that have been damaged by the wind or the frost

As I said, in the beginning, the jobs can be different in different zones and can vary according to the weather conditions.
Last year I started my beans in April, this year I probably won’t so I didn’t include this in the list. Here are only “safe to do” jobs. 

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  1. Mal Avatar

    Great list. I will leave the courgettes and squashes and beans a week or two as Edinburgh can be very cold right through to mid May. (Tomatoes and peppers are already crowding out my indoor space)

  2. --Ana-- Avatar

    I've sown them all yesterday and left outside so they won't germinate too early. But, yes it's better to wait. Last year we had a really cold May, and in 2018 we had 30°C on first day of May so it's really a gamble what kind of year we'll have.

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