I love the month of April! Glimpses of green life pop up in the form of garlic stalks, which handle the unpredictable spring weather with fortitude, or daffodils blooming in the garden.
In this April Garden Guide, I share some ideas for prioritizing seed starting, planting seedlings, garden maintenance, and more.
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The March Garden Guide had me starting seedlings and a bunch of other fun stuff. In April, I’ll continue my careful watch over the seedlings I’ve already started inside. Meanwhile, the weather outside will dictate opportunities for sowing and transplanting in the garden.
Remember, these April garden tasks are based on my gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a. You may need to make adjustments for your climate. See below under ‘Garden Planning’ for more ways to adjust this schedule for your needs.
1. April Harvest
Crops that were sown in early fall, covered by row cover, cold frame, hoop house, greenhouse, or some other kind of protection, can be harvested in early spring. Depending on your hardiness zone, you may also be harvesting other early spring crops and herbs fresh from the garden. Here is what I harvest in April:
- Beet family: beets, spinach, Swiss chard
- Herbs: Fennel
- Perennials such as asparagus and rhubarb
- Young spring greens like kale and lettuce
My broccoli seedlings look so good I could eat them right now! Patience you must have, young padawan. The harvest will outweigh a seedling snack!
2. April Garden Planning
Weather dictates actions more than annual calendars. Some years I’m waiting until the snow melts to do a lot of these items, while other years Mother Nature gives me the green light early. Don’t forget I’m gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a – you may need to make adjustments for your climate.
Starting Seeds Under Grow Lights in April
- Lettuce (My favorite is Parris Island romaine.)
- Nightshades: Pepper, Tomato
- Try my favorite tomato: Cherokee Purple
- Swiss Chard (Here’s how I grow Swiss chard in my edible landscape.)
Sowing Seeds Outside in April
Sow the following seeds, which can cope with the early spring weather.
- Peas (Try Sugar Ann, the super early sugar snap pea!)
- Sweet Alyssum
- Legumes: Beans, Peas (Save space with Kentucky Wonder pole bean)
- Beet family:
- Beets (Get the beautiful rainbow blend for different colors and varieties to see which you like best!)
- Swiss Chard
- Carrot family:
Planting Outside in April
Outdoor planting ramps up in April! Here’s what I like to plant this month.
- Strawberry plants (Hint: Grow chives for the best strawberries.)
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet Alyssum
- Fruit trees and berry bushes:
- Swiss Chard
When you purchase my award-winning book, The Suburban Micro-Farm, you get four garden planning tools as a bonus, including my Seedstarting & Planting Worksheet, that will AUTOMATICALLY GENERATE all of your planting dates based on your frost date. Amazing!
3. April Garden Maintenance
Here are a few things to make time for this month.
Storing Winter Gardening Implements
- Develop new beds. Are raised beds right for you?
- Build compost bins.
- Develop rain catchment and rain management systems for low maintenance irrigation.
- Prune fruit trees and berry bushes.
Improving Soil Fertility
- It’s the perfect time of year to improve soil.
- Add soil amendments like finished compost, worm castings, fresh or dried herbs, or aged herbicide-free manure to inactive gardens with a digging fork.
- See my article 9 Organic Amendments that Improve Soil for more ideas.
- Apply soil amendments responsibly to protect local watersheds. Never apply them to frozen ground, over-saturated ground, or right before a large rain event.
- Starting Seeds Indoors: A Step-by-Step Guide
- When to Start Seeds: Your Guide to 30 Garden Vegetables
- Four Garden Planning Tools You Need This Year
I’m so excited to get my seedlings in the ground. How about you? What are you most excited about this month?