In the Garden – April

It’s all change in the garden for April, as trees and perennials come alive so to does the garden. Whatever was planted in April, seed or plant, it really starts to take off as rain showers and the warmth of the sun affect the garden. April can almost seem an overwhelming month, especially if you’ve had uncooperative weather. It might feel like everything is behind where you planned, but by May and certainly June, all will be forgotten as even the slowest and latest of starts will grow exponentially over the coming months. Plan to spend a few hours a week this month weeding, planting and sowing. This is a good month to put a fence up because the tender leaves of plants are at their most tempting, especially for rabbits. You might even have to water this month, so it’s a good idea to get the garden hose ready.

Break the month up for a better chance of getting everything accomplished. This month all cold-loving plants and seeds can be planted, with successive planting later in the month and in May. A close eye on frost will continue. Indoor seeds will continue with a focus on squash, beans and melons. Some gardeners are even brave enough to plant corn.

Here is a short list of things to consider doing in the garden in April:

  1. Clear off and prepare the remainder of your garden. You can hold off on areas that won’t be planted until June, to save time and effort.
  2. Continue to harden off and plant out seedlings. Sow seeds that like the colder temperatures. Check weather forecasts for frost. Consider a fence and how you are going to support plants like peas and beans. At some point peas will likely need support this month.
  3. Open any cold frames or cloches to allow air circulation. Add mulch under established plants to retain moisture and discourage weeds. But inspect your ground and the likely weather conditions, as too much moisture could led to root rot. And unfortunately it is time to start checking for pests. Usually your earlier problems will be ones you’ve seen in other years, especially if you had a mild winter that didn’t reduce populations. This is when you realize keeping track of and rotating the position of crops is less of a headache then pests.
  4. If you have rhubarb or asparagus then you’ll likely have a small harvest by the end of the month. Some lettuce and micro green varieties will be ready to eat, as well as pea shoots (taste like cucumbers), perennial kale and radishes.

It’s not too late to order seeds. Sometimes seed companies run specials in April-June. Most have quick delivery times, but that is now something to consider.

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