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April garden jobs including what seeds to sow, crops to harvest, inspirational garden projects, and seasonal tasks for the vegetable garden.
It does not seem possible that we are forging ahead into April already. Many of the tasks mentioned in last month’s March Garden Jobs are relevant throughout April too. As the soil warms, our scope for direct sowing and planting out increases. April is the month gardeners have been waiting for! It’s all hands on deck for April garden jobs.
Use this guide to find out what seeds to sow now, how to care for your seedlings, and what ‘hardening off’ means. Make a cucumber trellis from a pallet, build a wildlife pond, supports for sweet peas, and discover how to grow potatoes in containers. Get outside and get sowing and growing.
April Garden Jobs Checklist
- Sow squash, pumpkins, parsnips, peas, beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, melons, chard, sweetcorn, spinach, kale, leeks, carrots, lettuce, radish, and annual herbs
- Chit and plant out second early and maincrop potatoes
- Harvest rhubarb, chard, purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, kale, leeks, spring onions, and asparagus
- Plant sweet pea seedlings out and/or direct sow new seed
- Hoe between rows of seedlings to keep weeds down
- Build supports for beans and sweet peas.
- Sow pollinator-friendly flowers and plants to encourage better yields
- Build a wildlife pond
- Install a water butt (rain barrel)
- Make sure you ventilate the greenhouse. Keep doors open in the day and closed at night
Seeds to Sow in April
April signals warmer temperatures but there are still some seeds that need protection and should be sown undercover. Germinate tomatoes, sweet peppers, aubergines, cucumbers, sweetcorn, celeriac, celery, and globe artichokes in pots, modules, or seed trays; prick out once two true leaves grow. Start courgettes, pumpkins, squash, and marrows off inside too, and if you want to try something a little more exotic give melons a try!
Cut and come again salad can be sown in the greenhouse or on a windowsill to keep you in leaves for lunch for weeks and sow annual herbs regularly so you can pick fresh herbs all year. Grow pots of basil, oregano, cilantro (coriander), and thyme on your kitchen windowsill and it will be on hand every time you cook. Nothing beats fresh herbs.
As the soil warms up there are now so many seeds we can direct sow outside. Carrots, parsnips, Swiss chard, spinach, perpetual spinach, and peas. Sow beetroot, brussels sprouts, spring onions, and kohlrabi now too. Don’t forget to get in those turnips, summer cauliflower, leeks, radish, and lettuce too. In warm climes you can sow sweet corn and dwarf French beans outside under a cloche, otherwise, wait until May. And don’t forget many beautiful flowers can be direct sown now such as calendula, which is not only a fabulous skincare herb and edible flower but an incredible companion plant, repelling aphids from beans and whitefly from tomatoes.
More Vegetables to Grow in April
In April, plant shallot and onion sets and plant out broad bean seedlings. If you want to try something a little different plant some asparagus crowns, which won’t give you a harvest this year but that you can begin harvesting from next spring. You could also grow unusual root vegetables such as scorzonera, or salsify which also have beautiful flowers. Make sure to get your Jerusalem artichoke, mashua, and oca tubers planted too.
Chit and plant out second earlies such as Charlotte, Ratte, Anya, and Maris Peer in the first half of April. Plant maincrop potatoes such as ‘Maris Piper,’ ‘Pink Fir Apple,’ ‘King Edwards’ and ‘Desiree’ in the second half. Maincrop potatoes don’t get any real benefit from chitting so you can simply plant them without having to wait for sprouts to form. Second earlies will be ready to eat from July to August whereas maincrop potatoes take a while longer to mature and you can harvest these from August to October.
Garden DIY Projects for April
It won’t be long before our precious seedlings will be growing tall and strong. That means that April is a great time to build and install structural supports to prop them up. Buying ready-made supports is the easier route, but you can also do it yourself. There are lots of materials around the allotment and vegetable garden that we can repurpose.
Construct a wigwag of willow or cornus stems bound together. These pea sticks will provide a framework for sweet peas, beans, and peas to grow up. Climbing frames provide structure to your plot and as well as serving a practical purpose can look really attractive too.
Recycle a wood pallet to make a support for cucumbers to climb up – no tools required! This can help deter damage from slugs and snails and prevent your crop from coming into contact with soil-borne diseases. You can also make a strawberry planter from a wooden pallet. This project features in my new book, A Woman’s Garden Grow Beautiful Plants and Make Useful Things.
You could also grow edibles in vertical planters — both the DIY variety and the ready-made solutions. I grow in a couple of different planters including this vertical planter that’s great for patios. Vertical planting is a great way to maximize production in a small space.
Garden Projects for April
Sow pollinator-friendly flowers and plants to encourage better yields. One of the best ways to have a fabulous bumper harvest is to ensure your fruit and veg get pollinated. Insects do that type of work best so attract precious pollinators to your patch by sowing plants rich in pollen and nectar-like sunflowers, borage, foxgloves, lacy phacelia, and single dahlias. While insects are pollinating those flowers, they’ll visit the flowers on your crops to pollinate them too. Resist pulling up dandelions, these are hit with pollinators too! You can interplant flowers within your growing space or dedicate a specific area where seeds can be sown.
Make a nettle feed with young nutrient-dense nettles. Leave a patch of nettles to grow in your garden or forage locally if you have the landowner’s permission. Pick young nettles before they flower or seed and fill a large bucket with as many leaves as you can cram in. Weigh down with a brick, fill your container with rainwater, cover, and leave for two weeks. Be warned, it has an intense smell so leave the bucket somewhere discretely out of the way.
Build a wildlife pond. However large or small your plot, try and add a small pond. You can use a container or sink a liner into the ground. Choose an area that gets between four to six hours of sunlight and is not overhung by trees or you will be forever removing fallen leaves. It will soon become a haven for wildlife. Before you know it frogs will move in and this is a win-win for gardeners. Frogs’ main food source is slugs and snails so they can naturally help keep the pest population down and help you garden organically, in tune with nature. Ensure your pond is fenced off from children, to keep them safe.
Install a water butt (rain barrel). If you have a gutter on a shed, greenhouse, or your house, add a downspout system so the rainwater can be collected. As our summers have been getting drying, saving water really is a necessity. Our plants cannot survive long without water so make water as accessible as possible. Rainwater is the right pH for most plants including acid-lovers, tap water can contain treatment chemicals and minerals.
Plant Strawberries in April
April is a busy time in the garden, as everything suddenly leaps into life. Our April garden jobs list can grow too!
If you have been growing on strawberry runners then now is the time to get them in the ground. In summer, strawberry plants have a tendency to spread by sending out long stolons or runners, looking to root. You can pin the ends of the runners into small pots, or leave them to grow where they like until you’re ready to transplant them later.
If you don’t have free plants created from runners, you can buy strawberry plants from a nursery. Either way, prep your soil by adding lots of organic matter such as well-rotted manure or homemade compost. The plants quickly multiply so ideally space them 40cm apart and 60cm between rows. If space is short then plant to suit your plot. Mulch with straw around each plant so the fruit stays clean off the soil and slugs and snail are deterred. Consider netting or a fruit cage to protect against birds and other wildlife having a munch or accept you will be sharing. If you are tight on space why not plant up your strawberry plants in a strawberry pot? Enjoy gorgeous sweet fruit on a balcony, terrace, or compact space.
More April Garden Jobs
Potatoes are great earthed up on the allotment but they can also be planted in bags or containers. This space-saving method means you can plant them practically anywhere and it saves on digging too. You can buy purpose-made potato grow bags with front pockets that lift up for easy harvesting. You can also use what you have at home like a green waste bag or a spare compost bin; just position them somewhere light and sheltered.
Look after your seedlings. We all get so excited about sowing seed but lives are busy and sometimes our precious seedlings can be neglected. Make sure they are regularly watered from the base but try not to overwater them as this may kill them. Look out for botrytis, grey mold and remove any affected plants. If seeds have been sow en mass on seed trays, prick out seedlings into larger individual pots once you see two true leaves, these are the leaves that appear after the first two seed leaves. Make sure your growing space is well ventilated and keep an eye out for aphids, slugs, and snails.
Harden off young plants before planting them out. Hardening off simply means acclimatizing your plants to the outside temperature before planting straight out in the elements. As they will most likely be used to the warm protection of a cold frame or greenhouse, you do not want to give them a shock. The easiest way to harden off plants is to leave them outside in the day and bring them in at night. Do this for 2-3 weeks before planting them out.
What to Harvest in April
One of the ultimate joys of April is rhubarb! Forced stems should be bright pink now and bursting with sweetness, ready to be pulled for a crumble. When you’re sick of making crumble, use the stems to make rhubarb gin, rhubarb wine, and rhubarb cake.
The rich hues of purple sprouting broccoli will be peeping out of the veg bed in April. Cut the central spear with a sharp knife to encourage new spears. A good tip for optimal flavor is to harvest when the flower buds are tight. Established asparagus beds can be harvested with a sharp knife from mid-April for six weeks. Just remember plants need three years until they can be cut. Patience is required but it is worth the wait.
Pull spring onions when you need them. They are ready to harvest when they are the thickness of a pencil. Kale and winter chard just keep cropping. Both are such productive attractive plants for very little input. Pull the last of the leeks for soups or simply steam as a side dish.
More Crops for April
Radishes are a quick crop to sow and grow with a turnaround of a few weeks. Pull when young so the roots do not turn woody. The added bonus with radish is the peppery leaves, which make a fabulous addition to salads. The same can be said for beetroots. If you leave a few old beetroots in the garden over winter, they’ll begin growing tender new leaves as soon as it begins to warm up. Use beetroot greens in salads and make full use of your crops, rather than banishing these greens to the compost heap. Keep sowing seed to ensure you have radish and beetroot throughout the coming months.
Swiss chard is another one that you can leave in the garden over winter for spring greens. In fact, swiss chard can keep going for many years providing that you have mild winters. I recently spotted a photo of someone’s eight-year-old swiss chard plant! It was gnarled and knobbly but it’s kept producing fresh new growth from year to year. More early greens include tender oniony welsh onions, Egyptian walking onions, and chives.
Garden Jobs for May
Many April tasks smoothly lead into May. Continue to pull rhubarb, earth up potatoes, and sow sweetcorn. Harden off tender plants like courgettes and tomatoes to get them prepped for planting out, and make sure insects can access fruit trees for pollination. That means lifting up netting in the day and closing again at night.
Slugs and snails can be pests but try organic methods to move them on rather than killing them. Make a garlic spray or lay down a natural plant-based barrier or eggshells. Slugs and snails are important members of our garden ecosystems so try to live with them. They’re an essential food source for hedgehogs, frogs, and some birds. Also, feed your plants regularly and make organic fertilizers at home.
For even more April Garden Jobs and projects check out the ideas below. If you don’t already grow veg, then hopefully these April garden jobs will inspire you to get growing!
- Grow a Beauty & Skincare Garden
- 10 Easy to Grow Vegetables for Beginners
- The Easiest Way to Clear Garden Beds
- Starting a New Vegetable Garden from Scratch