What to do in the garden in apriil
THE HARVEST IS STEADY: potatoes, pumpkins, apples, kumara, beans left to dry on the bushes, late corn, peppers, the chillies, tomatoes, and anything else that can be stored and enjoyed later.
As always there are plants and seeds to be sown. My favourites at this time of year include broad beans, mizuna, bok choi, looseleaved lettuces, kale, rocket, coriander, parsley and miner’s lettuce, and there’s always a rotation of broccoli.
In the flower garden, pansies and primulas, calendula, cineraria, sweet peas, sweet William, cornflowers, honeywort and other overwintering annuals can be sown. The soft autumn rain we all hope for will help with germination and steady growth.
Autumn leaves can be gathered from tracks and places where they can be a problem, pushed into rubbish bags, a little lime sprinkled on, the tops tied shut. Leave in a cool place for a year to become a lovely seedless compost.
Perennials which you wish to increase numbers of and plant elsewhere in the garden, or to pot up for fundraisers or gifts, can be divided now. Division done in autumn means the plants will take advantage of the last warmth of the growing days to establish their roots, hunker down for winter and be ready to leap into growth early next season. Beginning division now also spreads out the workload.
Slugs and snails continue their depredations unless kept in check. Ducks in the garden are meant to be good but I have yet to get around to acquiring any so for me it’s the usual hunt and squish mission, and a careful sprinkling of a bit of slug bait if it’s out of hand.
Winter greens are an important part of our diet during the colder months, so it’s not too late to plant varieties that can be picked over and over again to provide salads, soup additions, or heavy duty, hearty handfuls of garnishes of herbs such as chervil and parsley, coriander and rocket. Whether you have a big country garden or a tiny apartment balcony space, it’s easy to grow fresh greenery to provide two or three big handfuls every day.