April: Mid-Autumn Gardening Tasks

flower
feijoaa
potted annuals

April: Mid-Autumn Gardening Tasks

Autumn is now arriving with many deciduous trees displaying beautifully coloured leaves. In preparation for winter, there are many tasks for the home garden inside and out. 

 

Houseplants
Time to plan the winter care of your houseplants. Light levels are important for the health of your houseplants and often change in winter, as do temperatures in the home. Light misting of houseplant foliage (leaves) is even more important over winter months so keep this up. 

This is the last month for re-potting houseplants otherwise this task should be left till spring. You may need to reduce your watering with some houseplants over the cooler months, using lukewarm water, not freezing water from the cold tap!

 

Veggie garden
With the ongoing increases in vegetable prices, having a home vegetable patch has become even more crucial. Make the most of whatever space you have. Think creatively and consider growing in containers, in vertical gardens, or even hanging baskets - you will be surprised at the array of veggies that can be grown like this – particularly dwarf varieties.

Plants growing in containers are in a confined space and are reliant on the mix you use - so always choose a good quality potting mix like Garden Time™ Potting Mix or Premium Potting Mix. For those that need a lighter option, try Easy Lift Potting Mix.

For traditional gardens, what you put in is what you get out, so soil preparation is absolutely vital! Incorporate a mixture of fresh Garden Time™ Compost and Vegetable Mix to all areas that will be planted. 
Remember to rotate crops to different parts of the garden, from where they were growing last winter. 
New seeds and/or seedlings to be planted in April include peas, radish, silver beet, spinach, swedes, and turnips. 

 

Flowering annuals
Time to prepare and plant winter flower beds. As with the vegetable garden, incorporate fresh Garden Time™ Compost and Garden Time™ Enriched Garden Mix into the existing soil before planting. 

To add colour to outdoor areas over the cooler months, plant winter annual’s seedlings in containers, large pots or hanging baskets now. Position them where you will see them regularly such as on decks or in entranceways. 
Winter flowering annuals include alyssum, calendulas, cineraria, cornflower, lobelia, nemesias, Lupins (South Island only), snapdragons, stock, sweet William, pansy, primulas, and violas. 

 

April fruit harvesting & pruning
Time to harvest late-season apples. Feijoas are now ripe and it's best to regularly collect fruit from the ground and not pick it off the tree. Kiwifruit can now be picked and although they may still be hard, they will ripen after being harvested. 

Early in April the last of the passionfruit will fall to the ground. The vines can be given a tidy-up prune before winter arrives. 

Stone fruit, peaches, plums, and nectarines can be pruned and then sprayed with copper oxychloride to help protect them against bacterial diseases. Add a good layer of mulch to help insulate the soil around the trees’ roots, keeping them warm and protected during the cold winter months.

 

Perennial Garden
Many perennials can remain undisturbed for a number of years, but if you notice overcrowding then plants will need to be lifted, divided, and replanted into different parts of the garden.


With other perennials where the ‘top growth’ has finished, plants can be trimmed back to ground level. 
Garden centres usually have a good range of perennials at this time of the year, so it’s an excellent month to extend or replant the perennial garden. 

 

Rose care
It’s near the end of the rose flowering except for varieties such as ‘Iceberg’ that will continue blooming for a few more months. It’s a little early for pruning - if you prune now and some warm weather arrives in late April/early May, then roses will start growing again. This growth can be damaged by frosts in early winter. 
Continue to deadhead old flowers and collect all fallen leaves. Apply fresh compost around the base of rose bushes and climbers.

 

Strawberry patch
While the planting of strawberries usually commences in May, your strawberry patch preparation can begin now. They thrive in rich, fertile, well-drained soil so incorporate fresh compost into the existing soil and raise planting moulds to a height of 150-200mm above the soil level.  

 

Lawns
Keep fertilising existing lawns until late April. Set the mower a little higher as we approach winter - this gives your lawn the best chance to absorb sunlight and nutrients.

 

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