Your garden really starts to blossom in April with spring and summer on the way and the ideal time to get ahead with sowing and planting. It’s an exciting month for April gardening jobs with plants already starting to bloom, indoor-sown seeds well into their growth, and time to start sowing and planting outdoors. Give your garden a bit of love and attention now, and you’ll have all summer to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Here are our garden tasks for April:
Key gardening jobs this month include starting to prepare your seed beds by removing any weeds and stones from the soil. The soil needs to be fertile and healthy so digging in a nutrient rich compost will get your plants off to a good start.
Before planting your young plants outside, the flower seedlings will need to be “hardened off” which simply means exposing your plants to outdoor conditions for a portion of the day, to get them acclimated to the weather. If you haven't already sown sweet peas now is your last chance.
April is also prime summer bedding season and the perfect time to start planning and planting up your pots for a beautiful display this summer. Pansies, violas, geraniums, petunias and marigolds add instant colour to your containers, hanging baskets or borders.
Hardy annuals like sunflowers, nasturtiums, poppies, wildflowers, cosmos and zinnias can go in the ground once the frost has passed. It’s also time to plant summer bulbs such as dahlias, lilies and begonias now if frost has passed. Larger containers such as tubs are ideal for growing climbers, shrubs such as azalea and hebes, or even small trees to bring structure, texture and colour to your garden.
Mow lawns when necessary and when the weather is dry but keep your mower blades relatively high for the first few cuts of the season. After mowing, allow a few days for your lawn to recover and then cut again with the blades on a lower setting. We recommend cutting about once a fortnight during this month.
Your lawn will also need some TLC after the wet winter months and may be overrun with moss and weeds. Weeds can be a problem in lawns, so make sure they are removed as they compete with the healthy grass for nutrients and moisture. The best way to remove weeds and moss from your lawn is to use a slow release fertiliser, and then remove with a lawn scarifying rake.
After scarifying, use a lawn feed to invigorate bare patches and encourage strong new, dark green growth, ready for the increased use over the summer.
Grow your own
The potatoes you have been chitting can now go into the ground. Plant second early Potatoes at the beginning of April and main crop varieties at the end of the month. Strawberry plants and raspberry canes can go into the ground also.
Seed sowing begins in earnest with leeks,runner beans. tomatoes, squash, courgettes, cucumber broad beans, beetroot, lettuce, parsnips, peas, mangetout and spinach now able to be sown indoors for a bumper crop later in the year.
Fruit trees are entering their key growth season now, existing trees will now be growing at their fastest rate so will need care and attention.
Dead head spring flowering bulbs after blooms have finished but do not cut down the foliage or tie it up, it should be left to die down naturally. Prune back late flowering shrubs like buddleia, clematis, lavender and rosemary.
Put plant supports for tall perennials in now, while the plants are small so they can be trained as they grow.
Spray existing roses for black spots and mulch well below the plants to prevent any problems later on in the summer. Start to spray Apples and Pears to deter pests and diseases.
Hedges will now need to be trimmed as well as fed, a mulch around their base would be beneficial to keep them thriving throughout the coming months. Now’s also the time to hard prune dogwoods to encourage next winter’s display of brightly coloured stems.
We also recommend that you start storing water in your water butts from the April showers so you have a reserve for the hotter weather.