What are the April garden chores you can accomplish in the northern hemisphere? This list of basic tasks will help guide you in your vegetable gardens and flower beds, as well as lawns and general tasks. Includes a printable checklist to download!
Hopefully by April, most of us in the north are experiencing at least some spring weather.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, there's always a chance of a hail storm or even frosty mornings, but for the most part, spring is here, flowers are blooming, and the vegetable garden needs planting.
Around April 22 is the last frost date for our area, so lots of cool-weather crops can be planted out in the vegetable garden, but we should hold off on planting warm weather crops.
TIP: knowing your last frost date is key to planting the right plants at the right times - if you don't know yours, go here to find it. Though this calculator says May 1, I've checked other sources and its usually in the last couple weeks of April. This is where it's a good idea to keep records of your own garden's temperatures.
The months of April, May, and June 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 our heads cut off, ha!
To prioritize, it's helpful to start working where you see things most and work your way out:
- Start with the beds right around your front door and areas you walk by daily. Weed, cut back, plant, and mulch.
- Move on to further beds, doing one at a time.
- In the vegetable garden, start with the beds you will be planting first. Clean up, amend soil, plant, and mulch before moving on to the next bed.
Hopefully this doable list will help us all take on a slower pace for the chores needed in April. Just do what you can, when you can.
Use this free printable below to print the list and add any of your own specific chores to the notes section - simply click to open in a new window and download:
Remember, just pick the priorities for your yard, crossing off all the tasks that don't apply to you.
Pro Tip: Add this page to your free Garden Notebook Journal!
Want all my best vegetable gardening tips and techniques to keep it simple and manageable? (Yes, it CAN be done!)
Garden Chores 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.).
- Transplant seedlings of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, leeks, & lettuce.
- Direct sow seeds of carrots, endive, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, rutabagas.
- Protect crops with floating row covers from insects like leaf miners and cabbage maggots (think beets, the cabbage family and carrots). (PRO TIP: 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 if you didn't get to it in March.
- Feed fruit trees, apply whatever you feel comfortable with to control maggots (I prefer to use traps in the trees).
- 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 (PRO TIP: if your daylilies, penstemon, phlox, and other spreading perennials 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. (PRO TIP: I don't add anything more than the compost topping - it feeds the soil as it breaks down slowly - yay for one thing to check off the list as not needed, right?)
- Plant shrubs and evergreens.
Yard & Garden:
- 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. You can find all my seed-starting tips and tricks in this guide.
Make This Year's Garden A Success!