What to do now
Gardening in April is a busy time for gardeners with longer, warmer days. Flowers are in full bloom and fruit trees are covered in delightful blossom. With April showers on the way, garden plants are springing to life and that also means that weeds will start to take root in any place they can.
Keep on top of weeds by digging over the flowerbeds with a hoe and pulling up weeds which have taken root in containers. Remove winter bedding plants and apply a layer of mulch around tender plants to protect them from the hot weather as spring turns to summer.
- Mow lawn and tidy the edges.
- Repair bare patches with seed.
- Sow lawn seed on well prepared moist soil.
- Lay lawn turf before the warmer weather arrives.
- Feed the lawn with a high nitrogen fertiliser.
- Pull up weeds which have taken root.
- Rake over the lawn to remove plant debris.
Lawns will benefit from regular mowing and applying a high nitrogen fertiliser to encourage growth and a healthy lawn. Rake the lawn over to remove old plant debris and moss and brush away worm casts. Repair bare patches in the lawn with grass seed and sow lawn seed or lay new turf before the hot summer weather sets in.
Beds and Borders
- Sow hardy annuals.
- Plant out sweet peas and erect a support structure for them to climb.
- Prepare hanging baskets.
- Plant summer flowering bulbs.
- Herbaceous perennials can be planted now.
- Lift and divide perennials.
- Tie in climbing roses and apply a slow-release fertiliser.
- Prune and deadhead perennials.
- Deadhead spring flowering bulbs, leaving the foliage to continue to feed the bulbs.
- Apply a layer of mulch around tender plants to protect them for the warmer weather.
Gardening in April is the ideal time to lift out and divide perennials. Planting out hardy annuals and new perennials should be done early in April to give the plants a chance to become well established. Plant up hanging baskets and containers using a slow-release fertiliser and water retaining mix. Repot container plants if the plants have become pot bound.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses and clematis and apply a slow-release fertiliser. Plant out sweet peas and prepare a support structure for them to climb. Put supports in place for large perennials.
- Prepare seed beds, digging in a good quality compost.
- Remove weeds while digging over the soil.
- Cover the prepared soil to keep it warm and prevent weeds from growing.
- Add supports for peas to grow against.
- Harvest asparagus.
- Thin out carrots.
- Continue to sow seeds in pots ready to be moved into the garden when established.
- Mulch fruit trees to maintain moisture in the soil when the weather warms up.
- Feed strawberry plants with a high potassium fertiliser.
The focus in the vegetable garden in April is preparing the beds ready for planting out. Digging in a good quality compost or manure, weeding while the soil is being prepared and mulching to keep moisture in the earth when the hot summer weather arrives.
Sowing seeds in April can still be done and there is an abundance of choice at this time of year to grow in your vegetable garden. Beetroot, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, leeks and peas can all be grown outdoors in April. Under cover or indoors, grow tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, salad greens and peppers. You can also sow brassicas like broccoli and cabbages ready to be planted out in June.
Weeds and Pests
Keep on top of weeds while gardening in April by digging over the beds with a hoe. This will expose the weeds to be picked out by hand and also garden pests which the birds will come and remove for you. Consider adding some companion plants to the garden to control garden pests naturally. Plant marigolds and nasturtiums to control the aphids while sage will deter slugs. Sunflowers and garden herbs attract ladybirds which are the gardeners best natural pest control.
Garden birds are nesting now and will need a good supply of bird seed and fresh water. If you have space in the garden to grow a wildflower meadow, this will attract butterflies and bees into the garden. If space in the garden is limited, you can still grow some favourite wildflowers in pots like cornflower, poppies and antirrhinum which will add colour and variety to the patio area attracting insects and supporting the eco-system.