April Gardening Advice
April Gardening Advice
Harvest the last of the summer vegetables. Prepare and plant the winter vegetable garden with the following: broad beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, onions, silverbeet
and spinach. To ensure healthy, vigorous growth of your winter vegetables, prepare the soil thoroughly by adding fresh compost. Stagger plantings to guarantee continuous harvesting, rather than having crops all maturing at once. Where there are empty beds, sow a green manure crop, e.g., mustard, lupins, that can be dug into the soil in late winter/early spring. This protects the soil over winter and adds organic matter and nutrients back into the soil.
Late autumn flowering annuals are now finishing flowering and can be removed. Add fresh compost to the existing soil and plant winter flowering annuals including aquilegia, alyssum, calendulas, cineraria’s, cornflower, lobelias, nemesia, pansies, stock, sweet william, and violas.
The last of the apples e.g., granny smith, can now be harvested. All pip and stone fruit trees will benefit from a late autumn ‘clean up’ fungicide spray of a copper compound, this is especially important for peach and nectarine trees. Delay pruning until all the leaves have fallen, to allow for a better overview of a tree’s framework. Both feijoas and kiwifruit can be harvested in April. Let feijoas mature on the plant and fall to the ground where they can be collected.
Late-blooming roses e.g. iceberg, will still be flowering freely, while most bush and climbing roses are in their last month of flowering. Collect all fallen leaves to reduce next seasons infection of rust and black spot. Mulch with fresh compost.
In the Herb Garden
The last month to collect fresh herb leaves to dry and store for use in winter. Over winter it may be more convenient to grow herbs in containers in a sunny spot near the kitchen.
Time to renovate existing lawns or sow new ones (early April). As with many aspects of horticulture, preparation is critical for success in developing a new lawn. When importing new soil, where possible, ensure it is weed-free. Sow generous amounts of grass seed and maintain moisture levels on the germinating seed. With existing lawns, apply lawn fertiliser to promote strong, healthy growth.
Containers are useful for providing colour and interest over the winter months. Flowering annuals thrive in containers and brighten decks and entrances. Winter vegetables such as lettuce, spring onions and spinach can also be grown in reasonably-sized containers. Always use fresh container mix when planting a new ‘crop.’
House Plant care
When choosing new house plants, always consider the shape, habit, texture and colouring of your new plants. Other important factors are the temperature, humidity, and light in a home over the winter months. Remember days are shorter in winter and some plants may need to be shifted closer to windows. Watering can be reduced in the cooler months using lukewarm water. Stop fertiliser applications as it is only beneficial during periods of active growth (early spring to early autumn).