Our Georgia garden is a flurry of activity in April, and our April garden chores list definitely reflects it. With this year’s consistently high temperatures so early in the year, we have seen a burst of spring flowers and growth earlier this year (Kristyn is loving it). In fact, we have been holding back the urge to plant way too early. The good news is that April is when our planting season really kicks off.
Over the last month, we have stared loads of seedlings in our seed starting rack. With our last average frost date quickly approaching, it’s finally time to fill our gardens up. While the pollen may be turning everything in town gold, the beautiful flowers make the sniffling and sneezing almost worth it.
Bring your indoor garden outside
Get your Boston ferns back out
If you decided to overwinter your Boston ferns from last year, now is the time to start transitioning them outside. Overgrown Boston ferns should be divided right now and repotted.
Harden off seedlings
Help your seedlings get a great start by acclimating them to the sun. This will allow the seedlings to harden off before being planted. We usually transition our indoor grown seedlings over the course of a week gradually increasing their sunlight daily. Cold frames are great for hardening seedlings off and allow you to protect your young plants through the last frosts.
Start getting houseplants and tropicals some sun
We have a very similar process in transitioning our houseplants outside. Gradually over 4-5 days we move our houseplants outside shifting them slowly from shadier locations to their sunny summer homes.
Plant up your edibles
Plant perennial fruits and vegetables
Usually, right now is the perfect time to plant dormant perennial fruits and vegetables. This year’s early heat wave had us jump the gun a couple of weeks and get our blackberries in the ground early. We do have some new fruits and veggies headed our way in the mail, so there is definitely more to get in the ground soon. The temperatures in April are still typically pretty cool giving transplants better weather to establish themselves. It’s the perfect time to plant most of the typical perennial fruits and vegetables. Rhubarb, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and asparagus crowns should all be getting planted.
plant summer vegetable seedlings and more greens
By mid-April, the chance of getting any frost is pretty low in the south. It’s finally safe to plant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant transplants in the garden. Pretty soon the floodgates will open, and you will be planting all of your summer veggies.
While you are planting your seedlings, sow a few more rows of lettuce, carrots, salad greens, and chard to keep getting greens throughout spring and into the early summer. Hopefully, you are already reaping the benefits of some March plantings.
start sweet potatoes slips
We have been growing sweet potatoes for a few years and are using plants grown from our first round of purchasing sweet potato slips. If you are growing for the first time, order a variety that is best adapted to your region. If you have grown before, now is the time to get your slips started. It’s a breeze to start your own slips from last year’s harvest. Here’s how we do it.
Give your gardens a spring boost
Rip out the weeds
The weeds are already out of control. We have had a perfect mix of rain and warm weather to give them a huge boost. You will always regret not ripping out as many weeds as you can early in the year before they start to reseed and get unmanageable.
Nourish your soil
Spread a little mulch to give your spring vegetables a little boost. A couple of inches of straw, partially composted leaves, or compost will make everyone happy. Give the tomatoes a deeper mulching to help prevent early blight fungus from splashing up from the soil onto the leaves. This will help hold in moisture and give the plants a nutrient boost. You will be happy you did when the temperatures start rising and the amounts of rain decrease.
Do a little maintenance
There is a long spring and summer ahead with a great deal of grass to cut. Make it easier on yourself and your mower by giving your mower some love. Clean it up and sharpen the blades.
divide any fall blooming perennials and grasses
Dividing plants is an easy way to rejuvenate them and helps keep aggressive plants under control. Plus, it’s a great way to turn one plant into many many more. Replant the new divisions, and they will be thriving by summer. Flowering might be a bit delayed, but it is almost always worth having double the plants in the end.
keep churning and watering your compost
We like to spread compost over the garden beds a few times a year. This continually feeds our plants, and we compensate with a healthy dose of compost tea every so often. Keeping a steady train of compost cooking is a must for us. To make sure that your compost is cooking, keep it moist or the decomposition will slow down drastically. I also like to turn my compost at least every week during April (this helps to break it down faster) to give me plenty of finished compost through the late spring and early summer. Here are other great tips to speed up your composting.