April brings shorter days but they are often still warm, so this month is ideal for tidying up and nourishing the garden ready for winter crops. While it still fairly mild, watch out for the transition to winter in the air.
Key points for this month:
- Continue to plant winter vegetable crops.
- Sow seed and plant winter flowering annuals.
- Get spring flowering bulbs in the ground - early April is the last opportunity to do this. If it gets too late consider tulips as they can be planted as the weather cools.
- Landscape your garden. April is the perfect time for this as it’s not too hot or too cold and you can plant trees and shrubs.
- Prune existing hedges and plant new ones.
- Do a final clean-up in the garden before winter sets in.
- Maintain lawns and sow new ones before the weather gets to cold and wet.
Sow green crops of lupin and mustard in any empty spaces of your vegetable garden for digging into the soil for green manure.
Harvest the last of summer crops.
Remove all finished vegetable plants from the garden; put them in the compost bin rather than digging in to the soil.
Prepare for winter crops by adding compost and sheep pellets to the top layer of soil.
Sow seeds: beetroot, broccoli, broad beans, cabbage, carrots, onions, radish, spinach, silverbeet. Transplant to the garden as the weather warms and when they are showing at least two sets of true leaves.
Broad beans can be planted directly in to the soil, stagger the sowing for a continuous harvest.
Plant seedlings: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, lettuce, silverbeet and spinach.
Garlic and shallots can be planted in warmer regions.
Get a last crop of peas in before winter, in warmer areas you can also get away with snow peas.
Dust your cauliflowers, broccoli and brussels sprouts with Derris Dust to protect them from white butterfly and diamond back moth.
Protect seedlings from slugs and snails, scatter bait around each plant.
Re-plant your pots as necessary with winter annuals and add new fertiliser.
Sow seeds: alyssum, calendula, primula, polyanthus, poppies, cineraria, cornflower, lobelia, lupin, nemesia and stock. Transplant to the garden as the weather warms and when they are showing at least two sets of true leaves.
Plant seedlings: calendula, cineraria, nemesia, pansies, polyanthus, poppies, primula, snapdragon, stock, viola and wallflower.
Prune, lift and divide crowded perennials.
Sweet peas can be planted now for winter colour. In warmer areas plant straight in to the soil, in cooler regions start in pots or trays.
Dead head roses as autumn flowering comes to an end.
Lift gladioli bulbs as the foliage dies away, remove excess soil, store in a dry place until September.
Harvest lavender flowers and lightly trim the bush to prevent them going woody.
Trees and Shrubs
Plant new trees and shrubs as the soil should still be workable and dry enough.
Prune any evergreen shrubs.
Give hedges a final trim before winter.
Continue weed control; don’t spray within five hours of rain though.
Autumn is a great time to sow new lawn as there is still enough warmth in the sun and a bit of rain to help with the watering.
Tidy up all dips, hollows and bare patches, re-seed if necessary.
Apply a lawn fertiliser to all existing lawns, spread evenly and water in.
Control broadleaf weeds in established lawns with the relevant weed control product.