Tulips are blooming, and the garden is teeming with new life! April is an exciting month for gardeners; from planting to preparing the soil for the upcoming summer heat, there’s plenty to do during warm spring days.
Snails and slugs hibernating under pots and plants have woken up and are hungry, and the garden offers an array of tasty new growth.
Dormant aphid eggs will begin to hatch along with mealy bugs, white flies, and other unwanted garden guests. The problem is getting rid of them without harming all the other beneficial insects and pollinators.
You can apply a homemade garlic spray to plant leaves turning sweet treats sour. Many garden centres sell ladybug larvae, excellent pollinators that love to snack on aphids. A little bit of diatomaceous soil around the base of plants also acts as a bug snapper.
Adding plants to the garden that attract unwanted insects so they will leave the rest alone is a great solution. For example, marigolds can be planted now and repel slugs and snails. Nasturtium attracts aphids and can be planted towards the end of the month as temperatures continue to heat up.
Add fresh compost around the base of perennials, shrubs and the root line of trees. Doing so will give the soil extra nutrients and help prevent moisture evaporation during the hot summer, keeping roots cool.
The snowdrops, crocus, and daffodils have already come and gone! Cutting back all the remaining green foliage is tempting, but this unsightly array is the key to next year’s blooms.
Nutrients are returned to the bulb as the flowers wilt and the leaves turn yellow. Deadhead the spent flowers and loosely tie or clip the foliage together; this cleans up the mess while allowing the plant to complete its natural cycle.
It was once a rule not to plant vegetables or annuals until the first of May. But in the era of climate change, April is fast becoming the new May.
If temperatures stay above 5°C at night, you can plant geranium cuttings, marigolds, and annual fuchsia.
Just remember to protect them if an unexpected frost strikes. Other annuals like petunias, impatiens (all varieties) and begonias prefer slightly warmer temperatures.
The Vegetable Garden
Plant cool-weather vegetables now for an early summer harvest. These include kale, Brussels sprouts, radishes, peas, broad beans, Swiss chard, potatoes, beets, everbearing strawberries, perennial artichoke, cabbage, and hardy herbs such as parsley and lemon balm.
It’s time to get fruit trees, blueberry bushes, and raspberry canes into the ground to establish strong roots before the hotter days of late May and June arrive.
Shrubs and Perennials
April is the best time to plant hydrangea and summer flowering shrubs like the Rose of Sharon and buddleia. It’s also a great time to check with a friend to see if they’re dividing their perennials; arrange a plant swap to share your garden with them and vice versa.
If you haven’t already – plant dahlias and bare roots such as canna.
Depending on your agricultural zone, you can plant some seeds you started inside in late winter. Harden them off by bringing them outside during the day and back in at night, gradually increasing their outdoor time until they can safely be left out overnight and planted.
The ground is warm enough to sow sunflower, cosmos, zinnia, sweet pea, wildflower seeds, scarlet runner beans, and peas directly into it.
In the southern hemisphere, days are getting shorter, and autumn is approaching. Spring bulbs are being planted, perennials divided, and winter mulch added to garden beds. April’s a busy time for gardeners around the world.
See you next month as we garden and grow together!