April in the Garden
As we come to the end of Summer, April brings about many changes to your garden and it is a crucial month to prepare for Winter. Follow these simple steps and Garden Care Tips to make sure you keep your garden in tip-top shape! For all your professional gardening advice and the widest range of products, pop into Schäffler’s!
The temperatures are cooling down and this is the time when the old Summer seedlings are pulled out and replaced with Winter/Spring seedlings, such as Iceland Poppies, Pansies, Violas, various Primula, Nemesia, Sweet Peas and others.
There are those seedlings like Dianthus, Gazanias, Petunias and Alyssum among others that can be planted all year round.
Those seedlings that are still looking good need to be deadheaded regularly and fed with a liquid fertiliser every two weeks.
This too is the time for sowing seeds of African Daisies, Virginian Stocks, Sweet Peas, Calendula, Poppies and others. Don’t forget about your Winter seed mixes for sun, shade, tall and short.
For stronger plants and to encourage bushier growth, pinch out the early buds.
Climbing Sweet Peas will need to be staked so why not do it as you are planting the seed or seedlings so as not to disturb the roots later.
Most vegetables and herbs are sun lovers so when planting, take this into account as the sun changes position a little bit in winter.
Prepare your vegetable and herb garden by digging and then digging in either compost or kraal manure with either bone meal or superphosphate. You can start planting your seedlings immediately after preparation.
Autumn is a good time to plant the following seedlings: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Pok Choi, Leeks, Onions, Lettuces, Parsley, Rocket and Spinach.
Vegetable seeds to be sown now are Broad Beans, Peas, Carrots, Parsnips and others. When sowing, sow in small quantities so that you stagger the harvesting time otherwise everything will be ready at the same time.
Your Broad Beans and Peas are going to need staking as they grow so why not put in the stakes while planting so that you don’t disturb the roots at a later date.
Mulch your vegetable bed and feed with a 6:3:4 organic fertiliser every six weeks. Your veggie garden should be watered at least twice to three times a week. Keep your eyes open for pests and diseases and spray with an organic pesticide or fungicide.
Autumn is a good time to plant new fruit trees in your garden, especially deciduous trees such as Peaches, Pears, Plums, Nectarines and Apricots.
This is also a good time to plant out new strawberry plants
Cut back your berries that have already finished fruiting.
April is the time to prepare your beds for planting your Spring bulbs by turning over the soil and digging in compost and bone meal or superphosphate.
There are bulbs for sunny spots and for semi-shady spots and most can be planted in containers. We are fortunate enough to have some beautiful indigenous bulbs. Come in and inquire about them.
Daffodils are normally the first to arrive so don’t miss out. They prefer a semi-shade as well as the following: Hyacinths, Freesias, Snow Drops, Grape Hyacinths amongst others. Normal hyacinths planted in small pots and brought inside will freshen up any room as they have a beautiful perfume.
The following bulbs need to be planted in the sun and when planted in large quantities are absolutely stunning: Ixias, Anemones, Sparaxis, Ranunculus, Chinkeree Chees and Tritonia.
Keep all of your bulbs well mulched at all times and feed them at least once a month with bulb food and water at between twice to three times a week depending on the weather.
In Spring, when your Freesias come into flower, pick them often and you and you will get more flowers.
Autumn is a good time to lift and split many of your perennials, some of them being Day Lilies, Agapanthus, Dietes, Gaura, Shasta Daisies, Inca Lilies, Scabiosa and many others.
It is also a good time to plant out new perennials such as Aquilegia, Delphiniums, Echinacea, various Salvia, Rudbeckia and others.
Keep your perennial beds well mulched and water well during dry spells, especially your winter flowering perennials.
Autumn is also a good time to plant new shrubs. The growth above ground is normally dormant but the roots continue to grow and settle the plant so that in Spring, all it needs to do is grow.
Although most growth has come to a standstill, it is an ideal time to cut out dead and diseased wood, to open up bushes and trees that are too dense by removing some branches to allow light to come in, to shape topiaries and hedges and to deadhead the late flowering summer shrubs.
Autumn is the season when your Azalias and Camellias begin to bloom. They are acid lovers so keep them well mulched with acid compost and keep the soil damp but not muddy. If they dry out, they will drop their buds. You also need to feed your winter flowering shrubs while stopping to feed your Spring/Summer flowering plants and cut down on your watering. Keep your normal shrubs well mulched.
Pests and diseases don’t stop but they do slow down so keep your eyes open for them and treat immediately on seeing them.
The last big flush of roses is over but there are still flowers on the roses. Continue to deadhead regularly to encourage flowers to continue.
Although the season is coming to an end, continue to spray every two weeks as a preventative spray but if any pest or disease are spotted, spray once a week with a cocktail until the outbreak is under control.
Feed your roses for the last time this season and make sure that your roses are well mulched for the winter to protect the roots and to help keep the moisture in.
Our lawns are normally the focal point of our gardens and we want to keep them looking good for as long as possible.
Lift the blade on your mower so as to leave your grass a little longer to protect your roots during the winter cold and frost. Feed your grass for the last time this season with a balanced fertiliser like 2:3:2. Begin to reduce your watering as well.
Autumn is a good time to establish new lawn areas from seed or by planting lawn plugs.
The natural food sources for birds are starting to become scarce. Give them a helping hand by feeding them in your garden.
What do they like to eat? Many birds are seed eaters but you also get the fruit eaters and the insect eaters. Wild bird seed will cater for the seed eaters while fruit eaters will eat almost any fruit and most birds will eat suet. Spoil them this winter and enjoy their antics. Some birds like your sun birds and white eyes are nectar eaters, so why not invest in a nectar feeder and see who else visits.
Don’t forget to keep bird baths topped up with fresh water every day for them to drink from and to bath in.
Autumn is a time when lots of leaves drop so remember to clean your gutters in case of unseasonal rain.
This is a good time to sand down and repaint wooden furniture, gates doors etc.
If you are planning to do any paving or hard landscaping, do it at this time of the year.