April in the Garden

Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive advice, plants, and organic gardening supplies appropriate to our area and the current season.

SEEDS in season

April is the best month to plant turf grass seed.  Consider using a blend of native grasses, such as Buffalograss, Blue Grama, and Curly Mesquite, for a beautiful, drought-tolerant lawn.

Edibles
Black-Eyed Peas Lima Beans Pole Beans Beets Swiss Chard Corn Cucumber Eggplant Okra Pumpkin Malabar Spinach New Zealand Spinach Summer Squash Winter Squash
LATE APRIL: Cantaloupe Honeydew Watermelon

Herbs
Basil Catnip Chives Cumin Oregano Perilla/Shiso Sage Summer Savory Winter Savory Thyme

Ornamentals
Balsam Celosia Cleome Coleus Coreopsis Cosmos Cypress Vine Gomphrena Gourds Hyacinth Bean Vine Impatiens Lamb’s Ear Marigold Mexican Mint Marigold/Tarragon Moonflower Vine Periwinkle/Vinca Petunia Sunflower Tithonia Zinnia

things to TRANSPLANT

Vegetables
Eggplant Peppers Summer & Winter Squash Sweet Potatoes Tomatillos (you need at least two!) Tomatoes

Herbs
Anise Basil Bay Laurel Catnip Chives Comfrey Scented Geranium Lavender Lemongrass Lemon Verbena Oregano Rosemary Sage Santolina Savory Perilla/Shiso Thyme

Annuals
Balsam Begonias Blue Daze Celosia Cleome Coleus Gazania Geranium Gomphrena Impatiens Marigold Pentas Periwinkles Drummond Phlox Portulaca Purslane Torenia Zinnias

Bulbs
Caladium Elephant Ears Lilies

Perennials
Virtually all perennials can be planted at this time.  Check out some Native & Adapted Plants recommended by the City of Austin!

Ornamental Grasses
Maiden Grass Muhly Grass (Bamboo, Gulf Coast, Big, Wheeping) Switchgrass Mexican Feather Grass Inland Sea Oats (good for shady areas) Purple Fountain Grass

Trees & Shrubs
March and April are reasonably mild months for planting trees and big shrubs.  More attention is required for success as the weather continues to warm.

Soil Life

It’s important to feed your plants, but also, to feed your soil!  Using a liquid soil activator is a great way to improve microbial activity and soil structure.  If you haven’t done so this spring, topdress your lawn, flower beds, and gardens with compost.

For the health of your soil, and to prevent infestations of weeds, keep your soil covered at all times, either with plants, or compost and mulch.  Bare soil invites weeds.  Consider planting summer cover crops, such as buckwheat or black-eyed peas, in fallow areas.  Add compost, then mulch, to other bare soil areas. An inch or two of compost, and two or three inches of mulch is needed to get the benefits of weed suppression and moisture retention.  Other benefits include cooler, looser, more fertile soil.

Pull or treat weeds before they go to seed!  Pulling weeds is still one of the best methods for getting rid of them.  Another weed control method is sheet mulching, which is a great way to clear an area before building a new raised bed.  First, scalp existing weeds, and cover the area with at least ten layers of overlapping newspaper.  Slightly dampen each layer as you build them, and cover all the newspaper layers with at least 3”of compost. This makes an excellent weed barrier, and you can build and fill your raised bed directly afterwards.

Tastier Fruits & Veggies

More Birds, Bees, & Butterflies

Conserve our Water

Feed your landscape with an organic, slow-release, high nitrogen fertilizer.  March and April are the best months to fertilize your lawn, as well as established trees, shrubs, and other plants for spring.  Keep floating row cover handy in case we have a late cold snap. The Hill Country gets freezes as late as Easter some years, so stay prepared!

Pull or treat weeds before they go to seed!  Pulling weeds is still one of the best methods for getting rid of them.  Another weed control method is sheet mulching, which is a great way to clear an area before building a new raised bed.  First, scalp existing weeds, and cover the area with at least ten layers of overlapping newspaper.  Slightly dampen each layer as you build them, and cover all the newspaper layers with at least 3”of compost. This makes an excellent weed barrier, and you can build and fill your raised bed directly afterwards.

Continue to monitor your plants for pests.  Aphids, thrips, whiteflies, stink bugs, and their ilk are best controlled early on, when they’re nymphs or larvae, using the least toxic solution.  Correct identification of the bug is the first step, so as not to accidentally destroy beneficial species.  In the organic garden, the least toxic solution is always the best.

Spray the entire landscape with seaweed solution, as often as once a week, in the morning or evening.  Seaweed helps plants fight heat and drought stress.