April is a lovely time for gardening in Aotearoa. With the days a little cooler, it’s a productive time to get back into the garden and start getting it ready for the much-anticipated winter rains.
Beans (all types except broad beans), beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, courgettes, lettuces, marrows, parsnips, peas, pumpkins, tomatoes.
Direct sow the seeds of cornflowers, sweet peas, alyssum, linaria, lobelia and Virginian stock. Also start sowing these winter veggies: broad beans, beetroot, celery, peas, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, onions, lettuce, garlic, leeks, parsnips and turnips, parsnips and parsley.
Encourage efficient sweet pea growth by mulching regularly, snipping off new tendrils and side shoots and using a trellis or stake to keep individual plants upright.
Plant spring-flowering bulbs as soon as the weather has cooled. Plant out strawberry runners and cover the soil beneath the plants with a layer of straw to prevent the plants from rotting.
Mow your lawn a little shorter and feed it with a potassium-rich fertiliser to strengthen it before the winter months.
Feed sweet peas with 2:3:2 to encourage healthy growth and abundant flowers in the months ahead. Pinch out side-shoots to encourage upward growth.Feed citrus trees with a handful of Magnesium Sulphate. Inspect the leaves carefully for signs of citrus psylla or scale; if you see traces, cover the affected leaves with a generous dose of McGregor’s Spraying Oil.
Prune and Divide:
Prune evergreen hedges, summer-flowering shrubs and overgrown climbers.
Deadhead your roses to encourage a final autumn flush.
Cut back dahlias to 20cm above soil level. Wait two weeks before lifting the bulbs and storing them in a cool, dry place. The bulbs can be replanted in August.
Instead of fighting the autumn leaf fall, fallen leaves can be left on the grass or in garden beds to form a nutrient-rich mulch for the garden. In time, they’ll break down and become food for the soil again.