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April Garden Tasks

General Planting

  • Harden off transplants before planting them outdoors – gradually expose the young plants to outdoor conditions of wind, brighter sunlight, and lower moisture.

  • Plant seeds of cool-season vegetables directly in the garden as soon as the soil dries enough to be worked.

  • Start seeds of warm-season vegetables indoors for transplanting later into the garden.

  • When buying seedlings, choose compact, bushy plants that haven’t started to flower.

Garden Maintenance

  • Clean up your garden to get ready for the season ahead. Remove dead plants and rake back any extra mulch you applied last year for winter protection. Compost organic matter except for diseased plants. These should be disposed of outside of the garden.

  • Protect tender garden plants from late freezing temperatures by covering them with sheets, towels, blankets, cardboard, or a tarp.

  • WEED! Newly emerging weeds are easier to remove. If you weed regularly through June, the rest of the season will be much more manageable.

  • Add mulch to your gardens if it's getting thin.

  • Notice weekly rainfall.  You can keep track of the rainfall with a rain gauge to help you know when to water. Your garden needs about one inch of water per week from April to September.

 

Vegetable Garden Tasks

  • Help your soil warm up with UV-stabilized clear plastic for a week or two before planting. Clear plastic works better than black plastic. Remove it as soon as you're ready to plant.

  • Start seeds of warm-season plants (including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, cucumber, melons, gourds, winter squash, and summer squash) indoors for transplanting later to the garden.

  • Direct-sow cool weather crops: peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, and Swiss chard.

  • Erect a trellis for tall varieties of peas as soon as they sprout.

  • Harden off and set out transplants of cool-season crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and onions.

  • Plant or transplant small fruit: strawberries, raspberries, and other small fruit. If planting new strawberries pinch off all the first-year flowers from June bearers to help develop strong root systems. Everbearing and day-neutral varieties can be allowed to develop flowers starting in July. Remove winter mulch from strawberries, but keep mulch handy in the case late frosts are predicted and to help keep weeds under control.

 

Flower Garden Tips for April

  • Divide overgrown perennial clumps such as daylilies, phlox, helenium, fall asters, Shasta daisies, balm, and hostas. Don't divide Oriental poppies (Fall), or Iris (late Summer) at this time.

  • Divide clumps of older bulbs after their flowers fade.. Replant in a sunny spot and water in well. Bulbs prefer locations that are not heavily watered during their summer dormancy. So, don't overplant with summer annuals or perennials that prefer wet conditions.

  • Stake tall-growing perennials plants, such as peonies and delphiniums, before they reach six inches.  Peony care: Pick the lateral buds off peonies to promote larger blooms on the terminal buds. IWhen peonies reach 10 inches, stake or hoop them to support their blossoms. Avoid overhead watering your peonies. If fungus is a problem, consider relocating peonies to a more open, full-sun are. Move the plants in the fall.

  •  Cut flower blooms and stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring flowering bulbs as the flowers fade. But don't cut the foliage until it dies back naturally. The leaves are necessary for the bulbs to re-flower next year.

  • Plant hardy perennials, such as daylilies and delphiniums.

  • Start tuberous begonias and caladiums indoors for transplanting out to your garden later.

  • Plant cool-season annuals that can tolerate a light frost early in the month, after being hardened off. (Some of these are: snapdragons, sweet peas, English daisies, marigolds, lobelias, sweet alyssum, forget-me-nots, larkspurs, stocks, primroses, and pansies.

  • Later in the month, when the weather settles, set out transplants of forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.), foxglove (Digitalis spp.), and California poppies, Persian buttercups (Ranunculus) and other cool-weather flowers.

  • Direct-sow seeds of sweet peas, bachelor's buttons (Centaurea cyanus), and larkspur in flowerbeds.

  • Plant summer bulbs such as lilies, freesia,  and gladiolas about 1-2 weeks before your last expected spring frost, if you can provide frost protection during a cold snap. Otherwise, wait until after your last frost date.