What to Do in the Garden In April

What to Do in the Garden In April
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What to Do in the Garden In April

Now that it’s April, it’s Officially Spring and Finally Gardening Season

This month, most gardeners will finally be able to break out the seeds, start putting plants into the ground and really start enjoying the warmer weather. April brings with it longer days, warmer temperatures, and abundant sunshine. Keep reading to see what you can work on in your garden this month.

Garden App or Journal

One of the best things that you can do for your garden is track your plants using our gardening app From Seed to Spoon. Gardening is an endless cycle of trying new things and learning what works (and what doesn’t). One of the easiest ways to continue to improve your gardening skills is to keep up with it in a journal. Your garden journal doesn’t have to be fancy; a simple notebook will do. The point is to keep up with the various things in your garden.

Write down the plants that you’re growing, including the variety. This is very helpful for a few different reasons. When you write the name of the plant down, you’ll have a record of what you’ve planted. It sounds silly and you might think you’ll remember, but many gardeners have had trouble caring for their plant because they forgot what they planted and couldn’t get solid gardening advice for an unknown plant. Second, you’ll want to remember exactly what you planted so that you can care for it properly. If you know what you’ve planted, you’ll be able to find detailed information about harvest dates, growth patterns, pest, or diseases and so much more.

You also want to make notes during the growing season. If you’ve had persistent issues from that plant, write it down. Make note of how often you’ve watered or fertilized it. Write down what time of day you watered it, how much you’ve harvested and any other information. If you end up having problems with your plant or it didn’t meet your expectations, you’ll be able to determine why or whether you need to plant a different variety. It can be easy to think that you’ll remember all this information, but by the time the next growing season rolls around, you’ll find that you can’t recall all of the details.

Make sure that you draw or map out your garden space or flowerbeds. This is especially important in vegetable gardens where you need to practice crop rotation each year.

What to Do in the Garden in April Based on Your Zone

Zones 3-4

These zones can really test a gardener’s patience this time of year. Luckily, you’ll get to start really gardening this month. In the cooler climates, you’ll want to plant your cool season crops outdoors if you haven’t yet. Plant frost-hardy plants like pansies or cool-season vegetables: broccoli, radishes, carrots, kale or greens. Warm season vegetables can be started indoors this month. Start your tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons this month.

If you have bare root plants, those can go into the ground this month. You can also plant shrubs, trees and other perennials. This is the last chance to divide your summer and fall-blooming bulbs that are already in the ground and separate them before they start to come out of dormancy. Plant any fall bulbs this month.

If you have fruit trees that are starting to bud, go ahead and spray them as a preventative against diseases and pests that can damage your fruit.

Zones 5-6

Some of your cool season crops can be sown directly into the garden this month. Now is the perfect time to direct sow spinach, lettuce or leafy greens into the garden. Plant a little at a time, repeating every few days or once a week. This is called succession planting and will ensure that you have a continuous supply of fresh greens, rather than a large bumper crop all at one time.

If you haven’t yet, start your warm season seeds like peppers, tomatoes, squash and eggplants inside.

Tomato plants that were already started indoors can be planted outside as long as you have a way to insulate them in case of cold temperatures. Early season tomato varieties will start to put on tomatoes earlier than other varieties.

Zone 7

Now that the temperatures are warming, the window of time for planting cool-season vegetables is closing quickly. Cool season vegetables do the best in cooler temperatures and will bolt in warmer weather. What is bolting? Many cool season vegetables are grown for their leaves and vegetation, not their flowers or fruit. Growing them during cooler weather prevents them from blooming and putting on fruit or flowers. When they bolt, the vegetation often becomes woody and inedible. You have small window of time to grow fast-growing cool season crops like lettuce, spinach or radishes. Cool season crops that take longer to mature and harvest, like broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts will have to wait until the fall. Cool weather crops that have already been planted can be thinned and mulched heavily to help keep them cool.

You can start getting your warm season crops ready to go outside. If you haven’t yet, thin your seedlings and start to harden them off this month. The hardening off process takes about two weeks. Take the time to start slowly moving your plants outside a little at a time to help them adjust to outside temperatures and sunlight.

As your threat of frost passes, you can start moving your plants outdoors and into the garden. You can also plant any trees, shrubs, or perennial plants that you have. Divide and replant any perennials that have become crowded and put bulbs into the ground.

Zones 8-9

You’re in full on gardening mode in Zone 8 this month. Keep managing the plants that are already in the garden. Try to keep a consistent watering, fertilizing and weeding schedule. If you keep on top of the weeds in your garden and flower beds, then they never become a big issue. Pulling a few weeds a day, especially after a rain or watering, will keep it from becoming a headache.

You can plant a few new crops this month into your garden. Direct sow peas, beans, and corn into the garden. A great way to get the most out of your peas, beans and corn is to plant them out gradually over time. Plant a little each month to ensure that you get a longer harvest at the end of the growing season. You can transplant squash, melons, cucumbers and herbs out this month also.

If you mulched earlier in the year, add additional much in the garden and flowerbeds where needed. A compost pile is a wonderful way to make use of kitchen scraps and create a nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Don’t have a compost pile? Start one this month! Now that your lawn is likely coming in, you can toss the grass clippings into your compost pile if they don’t contain any seed heads.

Zone 10

April will have the last bit of cool weather that you’ll see until the fall. This month, get your cool season crops harvested. Any leafy greens or lettuce that are still in the ground this month are susceptible to bolting. Pull up any root veggies like carrots, beets, radishes or leafy greens that may try to flower as temperatures creep up this month.

This is also a great time to plant bulbs and root crops that will be harvested in the fall. A great one to try is ginger. Pop ginger root into the ground this month to get a fall harvest.

Keep your soil well watered and use overhead watering to keep any last-minute cool season crops from bolting. As you’re cleaning the cool season crops out of your garden, you can start putting more warm season vegetables into the ground. Keep a consistent watering, fertilizing and weeding schedule.

If you’ve planted trees, shrubs or other perennials, keep them watered this month to help them adjust and the root systems develop properly.

Zone 11

For those of you lucky enough to live in Zone 11, you’ll likely find that the sun is starting to get more intense with the longer days. This is a great time to invest in some shade cloth if you don’t already have any. It’s much better to have it ahead of time than to scramble to buy it when the sun starts scorching your plants in the middle of the day.

Most warm season plants can go into the ground this month if you haven’t already planted them. This month, you’ll want to focus on keeping your garden healthy and getting your plants off to the best possible start. Keep an eye out for pests that also appear with warmer temperatures.

Got bugs?

As the warmer weather brings the ground and plants back to life this month, it also brings bugs and insects back. It’s important to remember that not all bugs are bad and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for pest problems in the garden. As you’re planting your garden out this month, take the time to look up pests that are problematic in your area. Understanding how to identify these pests, their feeding habits and growth patterns will help you to manage them more effectively.