Autumn is well and truly here. The generally mild weather makes it a great time of the year for gardening. The days are shortening with increasing speed. The leaves of deciduous trees are starting to show signs of changing colour. Some of the spectacular ones to watch for are liquidambar, claret ash, maples and the ginkgo. Enjoy the glorious autumn colours as many deciduous trees prepare for winter dormancy.

April Monthly Tips

The Flower Garden

  • Another busy month in the flower garden, clearing up the last of the summer annuals, preparing ground, and planting autumn/winter varieties.
  • This is really the last month for planting spring flowering bulbs. Mix bulb food into the soil when planting – this will get them off to a good start once the roots start developing. More on Spring Bulbs
  • Lots of winter flowering shrubs and trees will start appearing in store this month – this is the ideal time to plant as it gives the plant time to establish and firm up in the ground before the onset of winter. Remember to stake tall trees when planting.
  • Prune back shrubs and climbers that have finished flowering.
  • Plant out Primulas, polyanthus, pansies, violas, cineraria, sweet pea, and stock.
  • Plant up pots and containers for autumn and winter colour. Add slow release fertiliser to the potting mix and feed weekly with a liquid or soluble flowering plant food. A tub filled with pansies or polyanthus will look a picture, and will flower for months.

The Edible Garden

  • This month continues the tasks of March – harvesting the last of the summer vege crops and preparing the ground for autumn and winter crops.
  • Be sure to store crops such as pumpkins, onions and potatoes in a cool, dry place and check regularly to make sure no infections have set in.
  • This is the time to sow broad bean seeds for late winter harvest. Broad beans are best picked when young and sweet and make a tasty addition to late winter meals. They like to be grown on a support structure, are easy to grow, and are heavy croppers.
  • Winter lettuce can be planted now – be sure to choose winter varieties such as ‘Winter Triumph’.
  • Rhubarb crowns can be lifted, split, and re-planted into newly prepared soil. Rhubarb enjoys a rich soil, so add in lots of compost, sheep pellets, blood and bone, and top dress with general garden fertiliser.
  • Sow sugar snap peas now.
  • Continue planting seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, spinach and silverbeet.
  • Fruit trees that have been harvested and are starting to shed their leaves can be given a clean-up with a copper spray – this will help kill off any overwintering fungus spores. More on sprays or more on Organic sprays.
Months: April