We think of April as a decidedly spring-like month, but it can still feel very much in the grip of winter if rain and wind persist. Sound familiar? But when you look at the ‘numbers’, the beginning of April is only 8 short weeks away from June! With that thought foremost in your mind, here are the jobs you can be getting on with this month.
No doubt the last of the daffodils are still bright and beautiful and the tulips will be in full swing, but now is the time to get your summer bulbs and corms planted. Start planting your lilies in pots, or in the ground as it warms up. You can also start to plant ranunculus and gladiolus. If you want to have a succession of blooms then plant your bulbs/corms every 7-10 days or so.
As primroses finish you can divide the clumps to create more plants. You can also divide many herbaceous perennials before they come into growth, such as hosta, to create new clumps.
Hardwood cuttings from last year can be potted on or planted out if they are growing strongly.
Clematis and honeysuckle, which may have looked all but dead until recently will begin to grow vigorously and new tendrils will need tying onto fences and supports. Like-wise check ties that support trees and see that they are not cutting into the trunk. Make sure any perennials that will become tall and floppy are supported by canes, pea-sticks or ready-made structures before they get bigger.
As forsythia finishes flowering cut back growth to favour strong, new shoots as this will maintain the plant’s structure and prevent it from becoming ‘leggy’ and congested. Like-wise trim winter heathers as the flowers fade to prevent the shape of the plant from becoming straggly.
Continue to deadhead tulips and daffodils as they ‘go-over’ but leave the foliage so that the plant can store up energy for next season.
Begin to sow seeds in pots or trays, or even directly onto the soil if the weather is fair. In fact April is the month to really begin sowing all sorts of vegetables, fruits and flowers in earnest, so get out those seed packets or buy some new ones!
Plant out your chitted potatoes in the ground or in grow bags.
If you’ve sown carrots and have a first flush of seedlings, then thin them to encourage the remaining plants to grow strongly. Thin in the evening to avoid attracting carrot fly and consider companion planting too, to keep the pests at bay; good combinations include leeks, alliums or onions, and even mint if it’s not allowed to get too vigorous.
Plant out strawberries now in beds, and cover them with cloches if you can to encourage earlier fruiting.
Wash and disinfect your greenhouse to reduce disease, fungus and pests.
Check your water butts and compost bins to make sure they are working, healthy and ready to use.
April is a great month to sow grass seed, lay turf or repair worn or compacted areas of lawn. It’s also a goood month to use weed treatments or remove weeds by hand, feed the lawn and begin to mow more regularly.
Keep an eye out for pests and diseases so you can treat them early and reduce their impact on your garden.
Clean paths and patios of mud and debris ready to use and enjoy.
Keep weeding, as every weed you remove now will save you double the work in a few weeks time. Enjoy!