Hopefully by April, most of us are experiencing at least some spring weather. Where I live, there’s always a chance of a hail storm or even frosting mornings, but for the most part, spring is here, flowers are blooming, and the vegetable garden needs planting. April 15th is the last frost date for our area of the Pacific Northwest, so lots of cool-weather crops can be planted out in the garden.
The next three months are probably the busiest for gardeners – we’re trying to catch all the weeds before they get big (and make our lives harder come July and August), get things mulched, plant new shrubs, plants and edibles, and generally run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Hopefully this list will help you take a more sedate pace for the chores needed in April!
Garden Chores by Month for April
Vegetable & Fruit Garden:
- Prep main garden beds for spring & summer planting by weeding and turning in organic material.
- Harden off cool-weather seedlings started indoors (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, etc.).
- Plant starts of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, leeks, & lettuce.
- Plant seeds of carrots, endive, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, rutabagas.
- Use floating row covers to help protect beets, cabbage family & carrots from insects like leaf miners and cabbage maggots. (I’ve also found that row covers provide just enough more warmth to allow bigger growth than uncovered vegetables).
- Apply organic fertilizer to cane, bush (blueberries, currants, gooseberries) & trailing berries.
- Mulch perennial vegetables and fruits like asparagus, rhubarb & strawberries with compost or composted manure.
- Feed fruit trees, apply whatever you feel comfortable with to control maggots, etc.
- Prune & shape spring-blooming shrubs and trees after blossoms fade.
- Plant summer blooming tubers like dahlias and gladiolus (if didn’t get to it in March)
- Deadhead flowers as they finish blooming.
- Divide perennials that need it (tip: if your daylilies aren’t blooming as much anymore, they need to be divided)
- Continue laying newspaper and mulching your garden beds as you clear them of weeds – you will never be sorry you bit the bullet and spent the time doing this now, trust me on this.
- Apply organic fertilizer to established shrubs, as needed. (tip: I hardly add anything more than the compost topping – it feeds the soil as it breaks down slowly)
- Plant shrubs and evergreens.
- Fertilize lawns so spring rains can water it into the ground.
- Mow, mow, mow…sigh.
- Edge beds & paths as needed.
- Refresh paths as needed with bark, gravel, etc.
- Bait for slugs (in the PNW, this is probably #1 on our lists!)
- Keep caring for warm weather seedlings indoors: feed a half-strength solution of organic fertilizer or fish emulsion, keep well watered, and raise the light source as they grow. Re-pot as needed to larger pots.
Note: This list is not comprehensive by any means, but meant to provide a jumping-off point to organizing your garden chores. Feel free to print the list and add any of your own specific chores to the sections.