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Garden Tips & Tasks – April 2012

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gardentips-generalgardening.jpgI wish, as would most gardeners, that the weather would make up its mind! Although autumn is well and truly here, as Neil Finn would say it’s still a case of ‘four seasons in one day’ as we shift from sun to storms and back again.

Don’t play the fool this month; take time between those April showers to ready your garden for winter.

General Gardening

Double-dig ground to increase fertility after summer crops have been removed and apply pelletised pea straw for plant nutrition and protection from the cold.

Fertilise newly-planted spring annuals and veggies with a general fertiliser to help establish root systems.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may; or should that be don’t leave your leaves where they lay? Don’t leave fallen leaves to decompose; collect them to boost your stocks of compost.


Don’t be sour come spring; a little flower power now will make all the difference in a few months time. Continue planting spring-flowering bulbs.

Trim that bush! Cut back shrubs, except those that will flower in winter or early spring.
And feed shrubs, such as camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas, for stunning winter blooms.

Sow and grow: foxglove, polyanthus, primulas, poppies, lilies.

gardentips-strawberry.jpgVegetables & Fruit

It’s a busy time for veggie gardeners as harvesting continues. Beans, tomato vines or, in fact, any crops that have finished producing, should now be removed and the soil replenished.

Strawberries can still be planted right through until June if available. Begin covering frost-tender plants and citrus with frost cloth as the chilly nights set in.

Clear all fallen fruit to avoid disease. Look for signs of mildew or other diseases on fruit trees and spray with copper accordingly.

Sow and grow: cabbage, snap peas, spring onions, broccoli, cauliflower, broad beans, beetroot, corn, onions, turnips, spinach, leeks.


Stick it to those sap-suckers! Thrips are ripping into leaves of all kinds this month. Look for discoloured leaves – silver or brown in colour – and treat as needed. Carefully check such plants as camellias, rhododendrons, fuchsias and viburnums.

gardentips-goingpotty.jpgIndoor / Container Gardening

In March, so I ‘hare’, we all went a little mad; now April’s arrived, we’re positively potty!

While none of us like an empty nest, there’s no sense in letting those overgrown kids stay at home. Plants in pots and containers should spread their wings and grow to their potential out in the garden before the cold weather arrives.

Younger, more tender plants will need to be moved to warmer, better sheltered spots before Jack Frost comes a-nipping. 

Lawn Care

Don’t pass on the grass and be left to mourn your lawn when winter comes. This month is a good time to sow new lawns.

It’s important to choose the seed that meets your need. For example, if a hardwearing lawn is required for high-traffic areas, choose grass with a coarse habit.

Feed lawns to ensure solid growth before winter. Remember, a lush lawn means less room for weeds. Use slow-release fertiliser for optimum growth.

Spray to control broafleaf weeds. 

Click here for a full lawn-growing guide.

With changing weather it’s important to be vigilant in the garden this month. Less predictable than summer or winter, autumn is a time to reap and sow lest all be lost to the frost!