April brings us well into autumn, and the days are now getting shorter. While the soil is still warm, it’s a good time to plant trees, shrubs, and herbs, as their roots will have a chance to take hold before winter.
This is also the last chance to harvest fruit such as apples and pears (if they are ripe) before they’re damaged by frost. (To tell if an apple or pear is ripe, lift the fruit up gently in the palm of your hand, and give it a slight twist. Ripe fruit will come away easily with the stalk still attached to the fruit).
Things to Do This Month:
- Plant new trees, shrubs, climbers, annuals and perennials.
- Gather and compost autumn leaves.
- Divide overgrown perennials, collect their seeds, prune those that have finished flowering,
- Relocate evergreen shrubs (can be done either in autumn and early spring).
- Prune tall shrubs to reduce their height to better resist winter winds.
- Collect and sow seeds from berry producing trees and shrubs.
- Propagation of hardwood cuttings is done in autumn – prune off 30cm long shoots of current season’s growth, cut off the soft growing tip, cut off the bottom end below a bud, and dip end into rooting hormone. Make a ‘slit trench’ by pushing a spade into soil and rocking it back and forth. In clay soil, add some coarse sand for drainage. Put cuttings in so 2/3 is below the soil, and press the soil down around them. Cuttings will root and be ready to plant next autumn.
- Dig in cool season green manures that were sown in early autumn (such as rapeseed, broad beans, fenugreek, linseed, lupins, mustard, oats, subclover, and vetch) before they flower.
- Prune brambleberries after they finish fruiting – cut out the canes that fruited, and tie in the newly grown canes to the support wires on the berry trellises.
- Blackcurrants (and brambleberries) can be pruned from now till winter time.
- Continue planting garlic, strawberry runners and shallot bulbs.
- Harvest and store root crops – continue lifting beetroot and carrots and finish lifting potatoes. Leave parsnips in ground, they need some cold to taste the best.
- Cut down asparagus foliage that has turned yellow (if it wasn’t done in March) and top-dress the asparagus crowns with compost or manure.
- Empty compost bins into the garden to prepare soil for next season.
- Cover ponds with netting to prevent autumn leaves rotting in the water. Also, feed the fish less food, as they are less active as the days shortens and uneaten food will foul the water.
Vegetables and Herbs to Sow:
|Sow in April||Harvest (weeks)|
d = sow directly into ground
s = sow in seed tray
ds = sow directly into ground or seed tray
Download printable PDF version of Gardening Calendar (Australian Temperate Climate) – April