I missed April Fool’s Day in the garden but there’s still plenty of time left for mucking about this month.
It’s a good time to compost with plenty of green wastes from the summer’s veges and the new leaf fall of deciduous trees – this leaf litter makes a georgous potting mix or seedraising medium.
It’s harvest time for pumpkins, but these lovely beauties do better with a frost or two, to harden them off. Wait until the leaves die back and the stalk of the pumpkin has dried and hardened before harvesting, preferably in a fruit/fire day, and cut the vine so that you leave a good 10cm or so (5 inches) of stalk. That way the pumpkin won’t rot easily. They can be stored in a cool, dry, airy spot away from rodents and keep well for many months. We have some fabulous types at the garden – cinderellas, hubbards, japs, golden nuggets and more. There’ll be plenty of soup in Newstead over winter!
It’s also timely for feeding the soil with compost and minerals before planting garlic. I like to plant mine in autumn while the soil still has some warmth to get roots established and some green growth for photosynthesis. Think about a crop of carrots, beets and parsnips as well while the root sign is around.
Later in April, from 15th – 30th, is good for making insect peppers for those pesky critters without wings, according to Brian Keats. This could include the slugs and snails that are running amok in our garden this season. See the photo gallery for a guide, just substitute wingless pests for locusts.
Go to the April Garden Notes for opportune dates.