Yes, I know, the weather hasn’t been very kind to us for the last week and many of our gardens will be, if not waterlogged, then exceedingly damp. The nights are still cold too. Now that Easter is over and the children are back to school, it feels as though the weather should be better. And yes, it will happen, we’ll get a good week and we’ll be chasing our tails then to catch up in the garden. If that sounds like you, here’s the gardening jobs you need to concentrate on during the month of April.
I know my garden is too wet to cut at the moment. But there’s plenty we can do while waiting for a dryer spell. If part of your garden lawn is quite compacted, spike the ground with a fork to aerate it. If moss is a problem, you can choose between using a specialised treatment or raking it off. If some bare patches remain, now is the time to sow some grass seeds. If you have managed to cut your lawn and it’s looking a bit yellow rather than green, apply some high nitrogen fertiliser to boost the growing season and get it to green up.
Invest in a ‘garden diary’ if you haven’t done so already. Use it to note the seeds you’ve purchased (as it’s very easy to forget and buy too many) and to draw a diagram of your garden and note where you’ve planted seeds. By keeping note of when you plant out seedlings and the results from different vegetable seeds, it helps with your planning for future years but it also becomes an interesting historical document if you record prices of seeds and seedlings, yields of vegetables and fruits, and the weather patterns. Writing up the diary is a perfect activity for a wet day.
Once it warms up, weeds are going to flourish so April is the month to nip them in the bud and get them out of the flower and vegetable beds while they are in their infancy.
Feeding & Sowing
Now is the time to add well rotted manure or compost around the garden. Feed your strawberry plants and mulch your fruit trees with it. You can also dig a layer into your vegetable beds so your vegetables will have a good head start. It can still be frosty so don’t plant out too early. Ideally the soil temperature should be 6C. Vegetables that can be sown in April include parsnips, carrots, onion, beetroot, and chitted potatoes (beans and cabbages towards the end of the month). You can also sow herbs such as parsley, dill and chives.
If the daffodils and tulips in your garden are dying off, don’t forget to deadhead them. We still have some coming into bloom here. Now is the time to divide some clumps of flowers. It’s often something that people leave and then remember when it’s the wrong time of year. You can divide primroses when they have finished flowering. Hostas can be divided now before they start growing again. If you have climbers like honeysuckle or clematis, add some supports for the new growth now.
This is a lovely time of year. The evenings are starting to lengthen now that the hour has moved forward and when we get a sunny day, there’s a real promise of summer and many happy days in the garden. By putting in some early work now (especially regarding the weeding and manuring), it will be a much more bountiful harvest. I’m going to make one more point and that is to never feel guilty while you are gardening. It is good for the mind, body and spirit as it provides exercise as well as giving your brain time to chill out. And if there are some bigger tasks that you can’t manage yourself – you know who to call, yes, contact us at Tradesmen.ie where we’ll get you some quotes to compare for whatever needs doing. I hope you enjoy your April.