It’s April, the busiest month in the gardening calendar!
It’s officially spring and there’s plenty to enjoy out and about as well as in the garden. From magnolia trees in full bloom to cherry blossoms floating around the streets and chirping birds as they come into nesting season. Blooming lovely.
Now the evenings are getting longer, and we don’t have to pack on the layers just to head out into the garden, we find ourselves wanting to spend more and more time out there getting our gardens to look their very best.
This month, there’s plenty to sow and grow in your garden, greenhouse, and allotment. But there’s a lot more to do besides sowing and planting out.
Here are 15 garden jobs to keep you busy this April:
- Prepare beds for the growing season. Rake through old compost, breaking up any clumps and removing any weeds and debris. Dig in a 5cm (or more) layer of compost or well-rotted manure. You can also work in a general-purpose fertiliser, such as pelleted chicken manure, or fish, blood, and bone.
- Sow hardy seeds outdoors – this is often a cheaper way to fill your garden with lovely plants and can be a fun activity to do with the family, particularly good for keeping the kids busy during the Easter break. You can check your seed packets for the exact months of when they should be sown, but poppies, sunflowers, and wildflower mixes are good to start with in April.
- Summer bedding plant seeds can be sown on a warm sunny windowsill indoors or in a greenhouse ready to plant out in the warmer months.
- Plant lily bulbs in pots for bright, exotic blooms in July and August.
- Plant out lavender into pots or borders from late April as the soil begins to warm up.
- Pinch out the tips of fuchsia plants and sweet pea plant shoots, to encourage bushy growth this summer.
- Feed trees, shrubs, and hedges with a balanced, slow-release fertiliser, by lightly forking it into the soil surface. Roses, in particular, are greedy plants and will greatly benefit from feeding as they come into growth.
- Tie in climbing roses, and new honeysuckle and clematis stems. These plants will be putting on growth now, and you’ll need to train them along their supports.
- Deadhead daffodils and tulips as the flowers finish, but leave foliage intact, allowing it to die back naturally. The leaves will continue to absorb nutrients and sunlight, helping the bulb to produce good flowers next spring.
- Top up birdbaths and bird feeding stations to encourage birds into your garden and to give them a boost during nesting season.
- Look out for signs of pests and diseases; early prevention is easier than curing an infestation.
- Top dress containers with fresh compost. If your containers are already full, replace the top 5 cm of old compost with fresh stuff.
- Keep on top of weeding now that the weather is warming up. Run a hoe through beds and borders.
- Apply weed killer to perennial weeds in paving and patios – best to get on top of it now before it gets out of control in warmer months!
- Check compost bins to see if you have any compost that’s ready to use.
Fruit and vegetable growing
- Second earlies and Maincrop potatoes can be planted mid-to-late April. Remember, when planting out maincrops leave a large enough space (around 38cm apart and 75cm between rows) between tubers to produce a good crop.
- Some hardy vegetable and herb seeds can be sown into containers this month such as parsley and coriander, leafy salads, short-rooted carrots, radishes, dwarf beans, and more.
- Harvest asparagus spears when they’re no more than 18 cm tall.
- Support pea and bean plants now by tying them to a trellis or using bamboo supports.
- Feed raspberry canes, fruit bushes, and fruit trees to encourage good crops this season. Apply a slow-release fertiliser around their base.
As always, if you have any questions – feel free to get in touch!